I've enjoyed the games in Brooklyn the past 2 seasons, the Barclays Center is a great place to watch a basketball game and the neighborhood has added a few good bars and restaurants due to its presence. And Michigan has won, in front of mostly Michigan fans. Should be fun again, even if ESPN isn't making it a priority.
Hoops: Legends Classic Schedule Released, Is Not Ideal
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.
I kinda wished they'd play at MSG again (I had a blast a couple of years ago against KSU), but Barclays is (relatively) easy to reach and the fans will show up.
That championship game should be fun; Oregon looked way scarier when I first saw them on the schedule.
Barclay's has much better sight lines than MSG, and it isn't affiliated with Charles Dolan. Two big plusses.
Will ESPN probably re-air the game sometime in the AM?
I like how it is called a Championship Round of a "tournament" where we automatically get out of our regional and move on to NYC without playing the games.
This is truely idoitic. How are these first 2 games at all affiliated with the tournament?
This is so stupid.
Hasn't ESPN made ESPN3 not available unless you happen to have the right internet provider? Last I checked, Time Warner Internet didn't work with them, only Time Warner Cable (which I don't have) but they are being purchased by Comcast so who knows????