Oregon's Joseph Young reacts to the TV schedule [Photo: Steve Dykes/AP]
As is now tradition, apparently, Michigan will play in a non-conference basketball tournament in Brooklyn—this season, the "Legends Classic"—and the schedule, which includes a couple regional games at the Crisler Center, was released today:
Ann Arbor Regional
Crisler Center | Ann Arbor, Mich.
Nov. 17 vs. Bucknell
Nov. 20 vs. Detroit
Barclays Center | Brooklyn, N.Y.
Semifinal, Nov. 24
VCU vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan vs. Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Third-Place Game, Nov. 25
Loser VCU/Villanova vs. Loser Michigan/Oregon, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Championship, Nov. 25
Winner VCU/Villanova vs. Winner Michigan/Oregon, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Since television ratings rule the world, the regionals don't actually determine the semifinal matchups; the games against Bucknell and Detroit* simply serve as a warm-up round.
About those television ratings, though: you'll note that Michigan's semifinal against Oregon is being broadcast on ESPN3 (online stream only), since ESPN will show Monday Night Football that night and Alabama-Iowa State—a pretty solid non-conference matchup—received the 9 pm slot on ESPN2. For some reason, ESPNU apparently isn't an option, so here's hoping your home internet can hold it down for a night.
Then there's the title game, which should feature Michigan for reasons I'll get into later. Yes, that's a 10 pm (ET) tipoff. I get the feeling this tournament isn't ESPN's top priority.
As for the actual tournament part of the tournament, the Wolverines will face off against an Oregon team in turmoil. Three Oregon players were kicked off the team in May and eventually barred from campus after the release of a police report detailing an alleged rape at a party earlier in the year. One member of their incoming freshman class, forward Ray Kasongo, failed to pass admissions and will attend school elsewhere, while the centerpiece of that class, top-50 wing Jaquan Lyle, hasn't been admitted yet.
The Ducks were already slated to lose five senior contributors. Now they have just nine scholarship players (the NCAA limit is 13) featuring a lone returning starter; luckily for Oregon, that starter is leading scorer Joseph Young, but it's hard to imagine the Ducks will come close to replicating their run to a seven-seed in last season's NCAA Tournament.
The second game will be tough regardless of which team Michigan draws. Villanova finished last year #14 on KenPom, just four spots behind the Wolverines, and while they lose leading scorer James Bell, they return just about everyone else. VCU, as you well know by now, brings Shaka Smart's daunting full-court press—albeit one Michigan broke quite successfully the last time around—and though they lost two starters, KenPom's #17 team last season brings back plenty of talent.
The release of the Legends Classic bracket finalizes Michigan's non-conference schedule (via MGoBlue):
MLive's Brendan Quinn posted a thorough breakdown of the non-conference slate today if you feel like taking a deeper dive into the upcoming basketball schedule.
*#155 and #197, respectively, on KenPom last year (also #167 and #229 in RPI), so thankfully they shouldn't be a pair of schedule-strength anchors.