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2016 Legends Classic Primer: A Trio Of NCAA Teams Headed For Brooklyn

And Northwestern, the lone power conference team to never make the NCAA Tournament, can take a sizable step toward that first bid by grabbing a pair of victories at the Barclays Center.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

To catch up on all of the posts in this series visit the 2016-17 Early Season Events hub.

What Is It?

The Legends Classic (official website)

How Long Has This Event Been Around?

From last season's primer...

The Texas Longhorns defeated Tennessee Volunteers in the first Legends Classic final, played at the Prudential Center in Newark on November 24, 2007. Based on the inaugural field, it looks like the Gazelle Group had a bit of a difficult time putting the field together, as no fewer than five non-Division I teams participated in that year's regional rounds, with Texas, Tennessee, and West Virginia all playing Arkansas-Monticello as part of the event.

In 2009, the event moved to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, a truly unique venue for college basketball (as I recall the Atlantic 10 Tournament final I attended there the season before) for two years. The most noteworthy thing about the event's tenure on the Jersey Shore is that the two teams I follow the most closely won during those seasons—the Florida Gators in 2009 (thanks to a win over the Michigan State Spartans in the semifinals that basically pushed them into the 2010 NCAA field after two years away) and the Syracuse Orange in 2010.

Two years later, the event was on the move again, this time back to the New York metro area, specifically to the Meadowlands. One season on, in 2012, the tournament made its final move, to Brooklyn.

Much like its sibling, the 2K Classic, this event features "regional" rounds played on the home floors of host schools, typically from power conferences, with the visitors participating in a "subregional" round while the host schools meet in Brooklyn. The format is rather stable now, with four hosts and four visitors, though the number of visitors and the format of the subregional rounds varied widely between 2007 and 2012. Non-Division I teams were often called in to fill gaps before an eight-team format was settled upon in 2013.

When And Where Is It?

The four host schools will gather at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday, November 21st (semifinals) and Tuesday, November 22nd (consolation and championship games). On the same two nights, the four visitors will play out their subregional bracket at Reese Court on Eastern Washington's campus in Cheney.

All but one of the on-campus regional round games—Bryant's November 25th trip to Northwestern—will take place before the two neutral-site tournaments.

Who's Playing?

There's a definite Midwestern/Western flavor to the hosts' bracket, though Notre Dame acts as the de facto host due to its large alumni and fan presence in New York City.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (ACC)
vs.
Colorado Buffaloes (Pac-12)
Colorado
Texas
Texas Longhorns (Big 12)
vs.
Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten)
Northwestern

Here are the four visiting schools, listed with their respective road games and opening matchups at EWU.

Team Road Games Semifinal Opponent
Bryant
Bryant Bulldogs
(NEC)
Notre Dame
Northwestern
at Eastern Washington
EWU
Eastern Washington Eagles
(Big Sky)
Northwestern
Texas
Bryant
Seattle
Seattle Redhawks
(WAC)
Colorado
Notre Dame
ULM
ULM
ULM Warhawks
(Sun Belt)
Texas
Colorado
Seattle

Logos from SportsLogos.net

You can check out the full schedule on the Legends Classic website.

Did Any Of These Teams Make The NCAAs or NIT Last Season?

Notre Dame fell to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Sweet Sixteen. Colorado and Texas both dropped their openers—the Buffaloes to the Connecticut Huskies and the Longhorns to the Northern Iowa Panthers, courtesy of one of the greatest shots in NCAA history.

None of the other five teams reached the NIT, with Northwestern missing the postseason despite 20 wins. In other postseason action, the eventual champion Nevada Wolf Pack eliminated Eastern Washington in the CBI quarterfinals, while ULM dropped a one-point decision on the road at the Furman Paladins in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Have Any Of These Teams Made The Trip Before?

Texas has participated in two previous Legends Classics, winning the inaugural edition in 2007 and going 0-2 in East Rutherford in 2011. The other seven teams are all making their debuts.

Who's Played In Other Gazelle Group Events Recently?

This will be the Longhorns' seventh participation in a Gazelle-run event in the past 11 season, and they've claimed the 2009 CBE Classic (though this event is now run by a different company) and the 2014 2K Classic titles. Notre Dame lost both of its games in Kansas City during its participation in the 2011 CBE event and its showcase game to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2013 Gotham Classic. Northwestern and Colorado haven't participated in any previously.

Among the visitors, Bryant lost to the Fighting Irish in that same event, and the Bulldogs went 1-3 in last season's 2K Classic. Eastern Washington dropped all of its Gotham Classic games in 2015, but went 2-1 in the 2K Classic subregional hosted by the UC Irvine Anteaters in 2013. Seattle stunned the Oregon State Beavers in the 2010 2K Classic before dropping two of its three subregional games, also in Irvine. ULM's only previous participation was in the 2007 CBE.

Any Other Notable Recent Meetings?

Despite being practically neighbors, Northwestern and Notre Dame last met in the semifinals of the 2009 Chicago Invitational Classic, a game won by the Wildcats, 72-58. Colorado and Texas haven't met since their last conference matchup, a 91-89 victory by the Buffs over the Longhorns on February 26, 2011.

Otherwise, there haven't been any other recent meetings between the four hosts. Oddly enough, Seattle and EWU played a home-and-home over the span of a week last season, with each winning on its own floor.

Who Won Last Year?

The Marquette Golden Eagles stunned the LSU Tigers in last year's semifinals before knocking off the Arizona State Sun Devils in the championship game.

Did Any 2015 Entrants Make The NCAAs Or NIT?

Those wins didn't help the Golden Eagles, who won 20 games, make either tournament. In fact, the Belmont Bruins were the only 2015 participant to reach the 2016 postseason—falling to the Georgia Bulldogs in the NIT.

Will It Be On TV?

Telecasts for on-campus games will depend on the home team's media rights, so you can expect to see them on outlets as diverse as BTN/BTN2Go (Northwestern), Pac-12 Networks (Colorado), and Longhorn Network (Texas).

ESPN2 will air one semifinal and the championship game from Brooklyn, with ESPN3 streaming the second semifinal and ESPNU televising the consolation game. If we're lucky, the subregional round will be streamed through the Big Sky Conference's digital outlet.

Who Do You Think Will Win?

Texas and Notre Dame head into this event as possible NCAA teams, with Colorado and Northwestern looking less likely. Of course, that can change with a strong performance in Brooklyn.

As for the visitors, EWU, a decent Big Sky team playing at home, has the edge.

Semifinals

Hosts: Notre Dame over Colorado and Texas over Northwestern
Visitors: ULM over Seattle and Eastern Washington over Bryant

Finals

Hosts: Notre Dame over Texas (championship) and Northwestern over Colorado (consolation)
Visitors: EWU over ULM (championship) and Seattle over Bryant (consolation)

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