To catch up on all of the posts in this series visit the 2017-18 Early Season Events Hub.
What Is It?
How Long Has This Event Been Around?
From the 2015 Primer...
When And Where Is It?
The Barclays Center Classic’s semifinals typically share the building with the NIT Season Tip-Off on Black Friday, which falls on November 24th this season, while the finals follow on Saturday—November 25th in 2017. But based on the information that’s currently available the Friday schedule doesn’t quite work out.
Problem No. 1: The Barclays Center Classic wasn’t even on the arena’s calendar in late September. Here’s a screenshot I took of it on September 27th.
Considering the Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to host Portland at that time, that was going to be an incredible feat to pull off.
Problem No. 3: The NIT Season Tip-Off’s championship and consolation games were still set for Friday, November 24th. Eventually, that event’s doubleheader was scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. There’s not enough time for an NBA game and two college basketball doubleheaders, even if they used the same floor for all three. You still have to get ticket holders out and in between sessions.
Problem No. 4: Well, maybe the event moved from Friday/Saturday to Saturday/Sunday? That ain’t happening. Jay-Z is playing on Sunday night.
If you’ve visited the event website, you noticed the organizers made a slight venue change. While Saturday’s doubleheader is still set for the Barclays Center, Friday’s action will take place at the Steinberg Wellness Center at LIU Brooklyn‘s campus—with a capacity of just 2,000. (Note that the Blackbirds have a long-term partnership with the larger arena, which serves as their secondary home.)
As for the visitors’ bracket, it’s scheduled for the Gallagher Center in Lewiston, New York on Friday, November 24th (semifinals) and Saturday, November 25th (finals). As a Niagara Falls native, I can guarantee you there won’t be any conflicts at that venue.
And naturally, since this is a split-bracket event, each of the Brooklyn-bound teams will host a pair of Lewiston-bound ones earlier in November.
For the first time, and for unclear reasons, the hosts’ bracket won’t be an actual tournament in 2017, only a pair of predetermined showcase doubleheaders.
- Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten) vs. UMass Minutemen (Atlantic 10) and BYU Cougars (WCC) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC) on Friday
- UMass vs. BYU and Minnesota vs. Alabama on Saturday
The visitors’ bracket, on the other hand, retains its two-round format.
- Western Carolina Catamounts (Southern) vs. UT Arlington Mavericks (Sun Belt)
- Alabama A&M Bulldogs (SWAC) at Niagara Purple Eagles (MAAC)
Here are the pairings for the on-campus games.
- Alabama A&M at Alabama and Minnesota
- Niagara at UMass and BYU
- UT Arlington at BYU and Alabama
- Western Carolina at Minnesota and UMass
Curiously, Minnesota is scheduled to host Niagara before welcoming Alabama A&M and Western Carolina to Williams Arena, but that contest is not part of the event.
Did Any Of These Teams Reach The 2017 Postseason?
Minnesota reached the NCAAs, but were the victim of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in a 12/5 upset. Since the Golden Gophers were the lone Big Dance entrant in this field, it’s time to turn to March’s consolation events. BYU will welcome UT Arlington to Provo for the second time in a year, looking to reverse the result of the first meeting, as the Mavericks picked up an impressive 105-89 win en route to the tournament’s quarterfinals. Alabama, on the other hand, dropped its NIT opener to the Richmond Spiders.
How Strong Is This Field?
Based on the average four-year rankings of the participants, the 2017 Barclays Classic ranks as follows when compared to other events with set matchups:
- Hosts’ Showcase: 1st of 9 events with set matchups
- Visitors’ Bracket: 17th out of 24 four-team bracketed tournaments; 31st out of 38 bracketed tournaments
Have Any Of These Teams Played In This Event Before?
This will be the first appearance for all eight.
Are There Any Other Notable Recent Meetings Between These Teams?
This will be the second season in a row that Alabama and BYU are in the same November field. However, the two didn’t meet in 2016’s Men Who Speak Up Main Event in Las Vegas. Conversely, Western Carolina defeated Niagara in a 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer subregional played at Kent State—the only game the Catamounts won in the event. (The Purple Eagles went 0-4.)
The Saturday UMass-BYU game will serve as a quasi-rubber match for the pair, who split a pair of games in December 2013 and 2014.
As you’d expect, Alabama A&M has occasionally visited Alabama, with the Crimson Tide winning all three meetings over the past 10 seasons, the last coming in November 2011. But other recent meetings of teams paired in the on-campus rounds are scarce (UT Arlington-BYU II previously noted), though Minnesota defeated Western Carolina by 20 back in December 2014.
Who Won 2016’s Edition?
The Maryland Terrapins edged the Richmond Spiders (by six after overtime) and Kansas State Wildcats (69-68) to win the championship. In the visitors’ bracket, the Robert Morris Colonials stunned the homestanding Towson Tigers in the final.
Did Any 2016 Teams Reach The Postseason?
Maryland was an 11/6 upset victim in the NCAA’s First Round, losing to a Xavier Musketeers team that peaked late. Kansas State managed to win its First Four game over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, but the Wildcats couldn’t get past the Cincinnati Bearcats once in the main draw. Richmond followed up its NIT opening win over Alabama with another over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies before eventual champ TCU Horned Frogs kept Chris Mooney’s squad from making it to New York.
Will This Event Be On TV?
The American Sports Network and ESPN3 had combined to air and stream the games in recent seasons, but with the former’s demise and transformation into Stadium, there’s no word yet on if that relationship will be renewed.
Campus-site games, however, will appear on outlets affiliated with the home team’s conference.
Who’s Your Pick To Win It?
Minnesota is likely to go 2-0, with the Golden Gophers’ Saturday showdown with Alabama looking like a de facto title game.
As for the visitors’ bracket, UT Arlington is a heavy favorite, even having to travel to Upstate New York. Expect the Mavericks to topple the Purple Eagles for that crown.