The 2012-13 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds’ MBB Non-Conference Schedule: Team-by-Team Opponent Breakdown
Today, LIU Brooklyn Men’s Basketball released their 2012-13 non-conference schedule. It includes twelve games, four homes games at the Wellness Center plus two more “home” game at their new “second-home” the brand new Barclays Center, three non-conference games versus BCS schools and a first-ever visit to Rupp Arena to take on defending national champs, Kentucky Wildcats.
My thoughts: As head coach Jack Perri said in the LIU release and I completely agree , this is easily the toughest non-conference schedule the Blackbirds have faced since I started following them back in 1996. Playing six teams in non-conference which won 18 or more games is going to be very challenging for the Blackbirds and the coaching staff. Three BCS conference teams on their schedule with Maryland, Seton Hall, and the defending national champions Kentucky. That is tough! Then playing four more difficult local teams in Columbia, Hofstra, St. Peter’s and Manhattan who is one of the favorites in the MAAC only adds to the difficulty of Blackbirds navigating through this non-conference schedule. The Blackbirds also have two Texas road trips to make, at Rice and at Lamar which won the Southland Conference tournament last season and you have a impressive yet challenging non-conference schedule which have to open up eyes in March when it comes close to postseason time. LIU Brooklyn going for broke with this non-conference schedule and you can’t blame them with six seniors and one junior. The one part of the schedule which I’m not too crazy about is the in-season home-and-home series with Lafayette which LIU couldn’t avoid. Other than that, this schedule is definitely going to test the Blackbirds and get them ready for what might be the toughest conference season ever. It all starts with November 9 at the college basketball opening of the Barclays Center when the LIU takes on Morehead State in the Barclays Center Classic. Knowing that the coaching staff had a very tough time getting schools to play them the last two season, I commend them on the great job they did putting this tough non-conference schedule together. This should hopefully help the Blackbirds in consideration and in good standing once the selection committees of the various postseason tournaments being résumé reviewing.
Here is a team-by-team breakdown of the Blackbirds’ men’s hoops schedule:
Friday, November 9 – vs. Morehead State (at Barclays Center) (’11-’12 record: 18-15, 10-6 OVC (3rd); RPI 166)- The Blackbirds’ season opener takes place at the spankin’ brand new home of the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA, the Barclays Center, located one subway stop away from LIU Brooklyn’s campus up on Flatbush Avenue (or a 14- minute walk according to Google Maps). LIU Brooklyn plays in the second game of the Barclays Center Classic which is the first college basketball event at the arena. Game one features Kentucky vs Maryland. LIU Brooklyn will take on Morehead State from the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eagles lose 3 seniors from last year’s team. The leading returning scorer is Drew Kelly, a 6’7″ junior forward who averaged 10.3ppg/4.8rpg. They also return 5’11″senior guard Marsell Holden (8.4 ppg) and 6’3″ sophomore guard Angelo Warner (6 ppg). The player to watch from their incoming recruiting class seems to be 6’7″ big man Norville Carey out of Delaware. Morehead State played at one of the slowest paces in the nation last season averaging 61.9 possessions a game which ranked 332 in the nation, so this game will definitely be a contrast of playing styles. This is LIU’s second ever meeting with MSU. Their only meeting was at a neutral court in the ’82-’83 season. LIU won that game 81-79.
Monday, November 12 – at Lafayette; Saturday, December 1 – Lafayette (’11-’12 record: 13-18, 7-7 Patriot (5th); RPI 195) – The Blackbirds’ first road takes them to a place they have been familiar visiting in the last few seasons, the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, PA. This will be the third visit to Lafayette in four years. Last season, LIU escaped with a 82-80 win. LIU is 2-1 all-time versus the Leopards. This will be the first of the two meeting between LIU Brooklyn and Lafayette this season. This game is part of the Barclays Center Classic campus games. Oddly, Lafayette is playing all the BCC teams on the road with the exception of this game. Lafayette doesn’t participate in the actual BCC being played on November 9 at Barclays Center. I believe Lafayette play this game at home due to the fact that they have to play a road game already at LIU as the return game of a home-and-home series from last year. Lafayette returns only 8 players from last season’s team. They lose their top three scorers from last season including senior forward Rob Delaney. Their leading return scorer is 6’0″ senior guard Tony Johnson who averaged 8.0 ppg. Lafayette is bringing five newcomers including a pair of 6’10″ big men, Nathaniel Musters and Ben Freeland. The Leopards were one of the best free throw shooting teams in the nation shooting 76.3% as a team which was 12th in the nation. Game two is the return game from last season’s meeting at Lafayette. This is the only the second all-time meeting between the two teams at LIU with LIU winning their last home meeting 85-80 back in December of 2010.
Friday, November 16 – at Maryland (’11-’12 record: 17-15, 6-10 ACC (8th); RPI 105) – LIU Brooklyn takes on their first of three teams in ’12-’13 schedule from a BCS conference. This game is part of the Barclays Center Classic campus games. This is LIU’s eighth meeting with Maryland yet the first since the ’81-’82 season. LIU is 0-7 all-time versus the Terrapins, playing the last six meetings at Maryland. Top returning scorer for the Terps is 6’1″ junior guard Terell Stoglin who averaged 21.6 ppg on 41.3% shooting last season. He is the only returning player who averaged double-figures last season. The Terps are bringing in five newcomers including two ESPN Top 100 players in 6’9″ forward Shaquille Cleare and 6’8″ forward Jake Layman. They also bring in Sam Cassell, Jr., the son of ex-Houston Rockets star Sam Cassell. The Terps were 53rd in the nation last season in rebounds per game.
Friday, November 23 – at Kentucky (’11-’12 record: 39-2, 16-0 SEC (1st); RPI 2; 2011 NCAA Champions) – This is the first time since I’ve been following LIU basketball that they have played a defending national champion. This is LIU’s second opponent from a BCS conference and this game is the final game as part of the Barclays Center Classic. This will be the fourth-ever meeting between LIU and Kentucky with the last meeting coming in ’46-’47. Fun fact: LIU does have a win versus Kentucky although it came in their first-ever meeting back in ’38-’39. Kentucky lost 6 players to the 2012 NBA draft but this is Kentucky and at Kentucky, especially since John Calipari took over as head coach, they don’t rebuild, they just reload. And reload they did! They reloaded with four ESPN Top 100, 5-star recruits including Nerlens Noel who is almost unanimously considered the number one recruit in the entire 2012 class and more than likely will be a one-and-done player at Kentucky. The strength of Kentucky last season was actually their defense. Not only did they have the number one shot blocker in the country with Anthony Davis but the Wildcats were also lead the nation in defensive field goal percentage and blocks per game. They were also top 5 in the nation in rebounds per game as well as being the fourth ranked team in offensive points per possession with 1.138 ppp. They are just tough on both ends. This will be LIU first-ever visit to Rupp Arena in Lexington as all three previous meetings took place on a neutral court.
Wednesday, November 28 – Columbia (’11-’12 record: 15-15, 4-10 IVY (6th); RPI 185) – This game is a return game from last season’s meeting at Columbia in which LIU lost 63-53. This game last season I felt was LIU’s worst game of the year. The Blackbirds’ didn’t play with NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd in that game and they couldn’t find their groove the whole game. Credit Columbia’s size and patience which bothered the Blackbirds in this game. But also, LIU didn’t shot the ball well. They shot only 37% from the field in this game. They also shot a horrible 15% from three and pretty bad 65% from the free throw line. This game is also the season opener at the Wellness Center in which LIU has a current 27-game home winning streak which is only behind who else, Kentucky who has 52. Columbia does return some good players including double-digits scorers, Brian Barbour, Melko Lyons and Mark Cisco.
Saturday, December 8 – Hofstra (’11-’12 record: 10-22, 3-15 CAA (11th); RPI 254) – This is another return game from last season in which LIU lost in the season opener 89-71 at Hofstra. The Pride loses their two two scorers from last season to graduation in Mike Moore and Nathaniel Lester. The top returning scorer for Hofstra is 6’7″ senior forward David Imes who averaged 7.0 ppg. The Pride continues their rebuilding process by adding at least five new players to their roster including 6’7″ power forward, Brooklyn native Jimmy Hall from St. Anthony’s in Jersey City who was coached by legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr. and 6’2″ point guard Dallas Anglin out of Seton Hall Prep in Jerse. This will be the 29th all-time meeting between LIU and Hofstra. LIU is 12-16 all-time versus the Pride.
Wednesday, December 12 – at Rice (’11-’12 record: 19-16, 8-8 C-USA (7th); RPI 170; CIT appearance) – LIU heads down to the Lone State to take on the Rice Owls of Conference USA. This is the Texas game the Blackbirds staff were seeking to reward their upperclassmen who hail from the Lone Star state to play one more collegiate game in front of their friends and family including three seniors (Boyd, Thompson, Onyechi), one junior (Brickman) plus their two incoming freshman who are also from Texas (Griggs, Reed). As for the Rice Owls, they returning their top two scorers in seniors Arsalan Kazemi and Tamir Jackson who averaged 12.1 and 10.5 ppg respectively. Watch out for the Kazemi-Boyd matchup. Mid-Major Madness ranked the 6’7″ 220 lbs. power forward Kazemi as the second best player in Conference-USA. The Owls have a ton of youth on their squad and bringing in five new players to their team this year with the top recruit being 5’7″ point guard Max Guercy from California. Last season, they were one of the faster paced team in Conference USA averaging nearly 70 possessions per game which was tops in their conference so they aren’t afraid to play fast like LIU. This is the 4th meeting between LIU and Rice, the first since ’48-’49. The Blackbirds are 3-0 all-time versus the Owls, winning all three previous meetings all at neutral courts. This matchup is a one-year deal.
Sunday, December 16 – Manhattan (’11-’12 record: 21-13, 12-6 MAAC; T-3rd); RPI 148; CIT appearance) – The Manhattan Jaspers will most likely be the preseason favorite to come out of the MAAC after a stellar first season for head coach Steve Masiello. The Jaspers have a solid nucleus of returning players lead by All-MAAC First Team forward George Beamon who averaged 19.0 ppg last season. Jaspers also return All-MAAC third team performer Michael Alvarado who averaged 8.5 ppg as well as sophomore forward Emmy Andujar who also averaged 8.5 ppg. Manhattan has also added good talents by bringing in 6’1″ point guard C.J. Jones out of Chicago and 6’5″ small forward Shane Richards from York Prep out of NYC. The Jaspers were a solid defensive team holding their opponents last season to .931 points per possession, good for 2nd in the MAAC and 56th in the nation. The Jaspers are also not afraid to push the pace a bit averaging 69.8 possessions per game last season. This will be the 20th meeting between LIU and Manhattan. LIU won the last meeting between the two teams back in November of 2010 with 91-80 win at Draddy Gym in Riverdale.
Wednesday, December 19 – at St. Peter’s (’11-12 record: 5-26, 4-14 MAAC (9th); RPI 305) – For the seventh consecutive season, LIU and St. Peter’s face-off with one another. In last season’s meeting at the Wellness Center, LIU defeated St. Peter’s 82-80. The Peacocks had a rough go of it last season after making the NCAA Tournament the season before. The Peacocks return their top two scorers from a season ago in Darius Conley and Chris Prescott, 11.6 and 10.1 ppg respectively. St. Peter’s also added 6’4″ small forward Ronnie Paden out of Trenton, NJ to their roster. This will be 34th meeting between LIU and St. Peter’s. The home team has won previous five meetings with one another, a fact LIU hopes to break this season.
Saturday, December 22 – vs. Seton Hall (at Barclays Center) (’11-’12 record: 21-13, 8-10 Big East (T-9th); RPI 68; NIT appearance) – Seton Hall last season went from an NCAA lock to a bubble team to missing out on the NCAA’s and having to play in the NIT. Seton Hall loses a couple of good player from last season’s team in Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore yet still return some good players including third leading scorer Fuquan Edwin and Aaron Cosby. Seton Hall was delivered a bit of a blow earlier this off-season when they heard word that Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs was not granted his waiver request to play immediately for the Pirates so he has to sit out this whole season. Gibbs would have immediately been the starting point guard for the Pirates. The Pirates do get help from Iona transfer Kyle Smyth who is eligible to play immediately. This game is being played at the Barclays Center as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. This is the 32nd meeting between LIU and Seton Hall but the first not played at Seton Hall since the ’71-72 season in which the game was actually played at the Schwartz Center. This is the second schedule game to be played at the Barclays Center in the ’12-’13 season.
Friday, December 28 – at Lamar (’11-’12 record: 23-12, 11-5 Southland (1st East); RPI 108; NCAA Tournament appearance) – Lamar is the second team on the LIU schedule to appear in last season’s NCAA tournament. This is also the second trip to Texas in a span of two and a half weeks for the Blackbirds. The Cardinals are coached by Pat Knight, son of legendary former Indiana head coach and current ESPN college hoops analyst Bob Knight. Lamar heads into the season in rebuild mode after graduating six seniors, five of which were their their top scorers. Their top returning scorer is senior forward Stan Brown who averaged 4.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg in 17.5 mpg last season. Lamar does have some height on their roster with a couple of 6’9″ guys and one 6’11″ guy to go along with 6’8″ Brown. Last season, the Cardinals were ranked 8th in the nation in rebounds per game with 36.8 and a high rebound percentage of 55.8 so they get after it on the boards. This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Once, LIU Brooklyn release the NEC schedule, I will post a conference opponent team-by-team breakdown.