College Basketball

Barclays Center Classic 2012: Most Intriguing Games on Tap in Brooklyn Tourney

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  A view of the exterior of the Barclays Center on November 3, 2012  in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

It's the first annual Barclays Center Classic, but the name itself is deceiving, for not all of the action is being held at the sparkling new arena in Brooklyn.

As a matter of fact, only two of the 10 games in this tournament are taking place at the home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, with the vast majority of the action taking place on campuses around the country from now through Thanksgiving.

Here's the action you don't want to miss.

 

LIU Brooklyn vs. Morehead State: Friday, Nov. 9, 5:45 p.m. ET, Barclays Center, ESPN3

You might look at this matchup and scratch your head as to why this would be intriguing basketball to watch, but it's LIU Brooklyn's first game in the Barclays Center,and you can bet the crowd will be jumping as the third-most prolific scoring offense in college basketball last season takes to the floor.

Brooklyn was the third-highest scoring team in the nation last season, dropping nearly 82 points per game and return leading scorers Julian Boyd (17.4 points per game) and Jamal Olasewere (16.9 points per game).

Expect the Blackbirds to be soaring high as they try and contain their excitement playing in front of a packed house with a big-time hometown advantage.

 

No. 3 Kentucky vs. Maryland: Friday, Nov. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET,  Barclays Center, ESPN

It's been a decade since Kentucky and Maryland faced each other on the hardwood, with the Terrapins beating the Wildcats 78-68 in the regional semifinals of the 2002 NCAA Tournament behind 19 points from Juan Dixon, who would famously led Gary Williams' team to the NCAA Championship that season.

But this is a new era for both schools, with John Calipari's Wildcats the defending National Champions and Mark Turgeon in his second year as Terrapins' head coach, replacing the legendary Williams.

It's our first chance to see Kentucky's vaunted freshman class of Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin in action, but Calipari is trying to temper expectations early: (h/t ESPN)

"I like our talent. I like our size. I like our length. We have some guys with pretty good speed. We're just not a good basketball team right now. Too many young guys that we're trying to bring along."

Maryland has two intriguing freshman forwards in Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, not to mention 7'1" sophomore center Alex Len, so the battles down low will be incredibly entertaining to watch unfold.

While Turgeon thinks this is going to be a good game for his squad, telling reporters "This game will be a great help to prepare us for our season and hopefully for postseason play," Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald- Leader tweets that the second-year coach is keeping things realistic:

Md Coach Mark Turgeon on UK: "Kentucky is still rolling out players that we couldn't even get involved with."

— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) November 8, 2012

 

LIU Brooklyn vs. Maryland: Friday, Nov. 16, 5:45 p.m. ET, College Park, MD, ESPN3

Brooklyn and Maryland have only faced each other once before, back in 1981, with the Terrapins coming from behind to beat the Blackbirds 87-79. 

It's a meeting of a high-scoring Blackbirds offense against a Maryland team that trumps them in talent, but struggled to put up points in the 2011-12 season, averaging fewer than 69 points per game.

Terrapins senior forward James Padgett will be tasked with trying to contain high-flying Brooklyn senior forward Julian Boyd in what should be an entertaining battle between two seasoned veterans all night long.

 

2012 Barclays Center Classic Schedule

November 9: LIU Brooklyn vs. Morehead State, 5:45 p.m. ET, Brooklyn, NY

November 9: Kentucky vs. Maryland, 8:30 p.m. ET, Brooklyn, NY

November 12: LIU Brooklyn vs. Lafayette, 5:45 p.m. ET, Easton, PA

November 12: Morehead State vs. Maryland, 8:30 p.m. ET, College Park, MD

November 16: LIU Brooklyn vs. Maryland, 5:45 p.m. ET, College Park, MD

November 16: Lafayette vs. Kentucky, 8:30 p.m. ET, Lexington, KY

November 18: Lafayette vs. Morehead State, 5:45 p.m. ET, Morehead, KY

November 20: Lafayette vs. Maryland, 8:30 p.m. ET, College Park, MD

November 21: Morehead State vs. Kentucky, 5:45 p.m. ET, Lexington, KY

November 23: LIU Brooklyn vs. Kentucky, 8:30 p.m. ET, Lexington, KY

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