In the 2014 Legends Classic, VCU will have another incredible opportunity to build an impressive non-conference resume while simply getting better.
The 2014 Legends Classic Bracket was revealed Wednesday morning. Virginia Commonwealth University will face Toledo at home on November 18th and UM-Eastern Shore on November 20th before heading to Brooklyn for the tournament.
VCU will open the bracket at the Barclay’s Center against Villanova on November 24th before playing either Oregon or Michigan on November 25th.
Toledo went 27-7 last season behind a stellar offense before falling short of dancing with a loss in the MAC Tournament to Westhern Michigan. They return four of their five starters including point guard Julius Brown.
UM-Eastern Shore finished 6-24 last season before firing coach Frankie Allen and hiring Bobby Collins. Collins won 79 games over the last four seasons at Winston-Salem State where he presided over a move from Division III to Division II. The Hawks are clearly in rebuild mode.
Villanova finished 29-5 last season after a loss to eventual national champions UConn. Junior point guard Ryan Arcidiacono will lead coach Jay Wright’s guard-heavy attack. The game promises to be one of the best early season small-ball match ups.
Michigan is no stranger to HAVOC! The Wolverines dismantled the Rams 78-53 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament en route to the national championship game. Last season they lost to Kentucky in the Final Four and finished the season 28-9 in an absolutely brutal Big 10. Michigan returns plenty of talent and has the system to give VCU fits. Sophomore point guard Derrick Walton has the tools be a star, and Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert are the classic Beilein wings that could carry UM deep in the NCAA Tournament again.
Oregon started last season 13-0 (including three OT victories). Then they lost eight of their next ten games before finishing the season 24-10. It will be interesting to see the Ducks play without point guard Jonathon Loyd who, after playing four years of basketball, just joined Oregon’s football team.
VCU has struggled recently in early season tournaments under Coach Smart. In 2012 they went 1-2 in Charleston with losses to Seton Hall and Georgia Tech before beating Western Kentucky. In 2013 they went 1-2 in the Bahamas. They beat Memphis in the first game before losing close games to Duke and Missouri. Last season, VCU experienced technical difficulties in a 85-67 loss to Florida State in the opening round in Puerto Rico. VCU then squeaked by LBSU 73-67 before losing to Georgetown 84-80.
Like last season, VCU will “have a lot of work to do, but a lot to work with.” Getting to the Finals of the Legends Classic would show an incredible amount of progress for their highly talented roster and help the Rams earn a higher seed come Selection Sunday.