The Gophers take a break from the monotony of beating up on low-majors; trading it in for a weekend in Brooklyn to face Massachusetts and the Alabama as part of the Barclays Center Classic. Oh, there’s just one minor detail that needs highlighting...it’s not taking place at the Barclays Center. Well, it is, Kind of, but not really. And it’s not on TV. Well, it is. Kind of.
Well-run holiday tournaments like the Maui Invitational or the NIT Season Tip-Off are fun because there are marquee games on accessible channels where you can just grab a beer on your day off and tune in to watch some great basketball. It used to be a great thing. Of course, like all great things, the need for MOAR overtakes the tradition or common sense and we end up with things like the Cayman Islands “Classic.” Seriously, read that. We’ve jumped the shark on holiday tournaments, folks.
Speaking of sharks, here we are with the Barclays Center Classic. On its surface it sounds like a fun event. A few pretty good teams come to New York to face each other in the Nets’ new arena for a weekend of college basketball fun. Hey, great! Of course, the scheduling geniuses appear to have over-extended themselves.
You see, the Brooklyn Nets are in town this week, and play a home game on Friday morning. The NIT Season Tip-Off is also hosted at Barclays Center, with games on Friday evening. Where were the first two Barclays Center Classic games scheduled for? Friday night at Barclays Center. WEIRD. GophNYC pointed this out in a FanPost not long ago, and Blogging the Bracket also thought this was a noodle scratcher.
So, what’s the solution? Move the Friday doubleheader to LIU-Brooklyn’s campus, of course. And why not? It seats 2,000. The teams will actually be back in Barclays Center for real on Saturday, so they’ve got that going for them.
Just so we’re clear, the Gophers are flying out to New York to play UMass in some random MAAC gym in a game that won’t even be officially televised. Please tell me there is a better use of the team’s time and energy.
Oh yeah, the TV thing. Here, the deal. It’s not on TV. I mean, it kind of is, but you have to watch it on Facebook. All of the games will be available for free (thank God) on Facebook Watch through the Live: Stadium College Basketball Show Page. So, get ready to watch two full games on your device of choice.
One fun caveat, I suppose, is that Stadium’s on-air talent team will address fan comments and questions throughout each game broadcast. Shall we try to pass through as many inside jokes as possible?
Long story short, the Gophers get out of state for a weekend to face some teams that are out of the ordinary, but in the whole scheme of holiday tournaments, this one reeks of afterthought (if not a bait and switch) and a force-fitting into an already saturated tournament landscape.