We've known for a while that Virginia will be playing in the Barclays Center Classic as its early-season tourney this year. But now, the field and pairings are set. UVA will take on La Salle University at 9:30 PM on Friday, November 28, the day after Thanksgiving, as announced by La Salle today. They'll be joined in Brooklyn by Rutgers and Vanderbilt.
The winner of the La Salle-Virginia game will play the winner of Rutgers vs. Vanderbilt, who will play at 7PM, immediately before UVA. The championship game will be at 9:30 PM on Sunday, 11/29, with the "third-place" game at 7 PM. Al games will be televised on NBC Sports.
Virginia plays Virginia Tech football in Blacksburg on Friday as well - the time for that matchup won't be released until mid-November.
The tournament, where the Hoos will be the likely favorites, is a nice fit for UVA. Virginia will have a strong opportunity at adding 2 wins and a second straight early-season tournament victory, after last year's squad's "title" in Corpus Christi. But they'll have to go through 2 solid opponents with the potential to show up in the RPI Top-100.
Last season, KenPom ranked La Salle at 105, Vandy at 112, and Rutgers 166.
La Salle followed its 2012 season, which culminated in an appearance in the NCAA Tournament play-in game, by going 15-16 last year, 7-9 in the A-10. They graduate 2 senior guards, but will have an experienced frontcourt combo in Jarrell Wright and Steve Zack. The 6-8 Wright was a major bright spot for a team that struggled big-time offensively; he finished the 2013 season with a 57.6% eFG% (Anthony Gill territory) and rebounded 13.8% of his team's misses (Mike Tobey territory).
In 2012-2013, UVA was slated to play at Madison Square Garden during the Preseason NIT, but dropped a home game against Delaware, keeping it from the Big Apple. The Hoos didn't lose at JPJ again until the NIT quarterfinals, where they fell to Iowa, missing MSG by one game once again. Last year, the team finally made it to the Garden for its Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan State. (We lost that one, you may recall). Virginia looks for New York redemption in 2014-2015, this time across the East River.
Today's announcement brings us a little more info about UVA's out-of-conference for next year. So far, we know the Hoos will take on GW, La Salle, Rutgers/Vandy, @ VCU, @ Maryland, and Harvard. (The conference matchups have been released as well). The full schedule, with dates, times, and TV info, should be out in late August.