The 2023 Legends Classic fields a strong lineup headed into the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Dates: Nov. 16 & 17
Where: Brooklyn, NY
Teams: Auburn, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, St. Bonaventure
Field Strength: 9/10
2023 Legends Classic Outlook
This year’s edition of the Legends Classic has nothing short of legendary programs.
Auburn’s recent success and historic past are a testament to this. Bruce Pearl and the Tigers look to be the heavy favorite of the tournament. Auburn has their sights set on a deep postseason run this season. With NBA combine standout Johni Broome returning for his junior season and transfer Denver Jones (Florida International) coming to the program, Auburn will be in the thick of the madness come March.
After Penn State’s impressive season last year it comes as no surprise that with Mike Brey leaving, Notre Dame chose Micah Shrewsberry to take over head coaching duties. Along with a redone coaching staff, seven new players enter the Fighting Irish program including transfer Kebba Njie (Penn State). It will be interesting to see how Notre Dame bounces back from their 11-21 season last year under new reigns.
In a homecoming affair, Mike Boynton Jr.’s Oklahoma State team seeks its first Legends Classic championship. After earning a #1 seed in last year’s NIT and losing in the quarterfinals against eventual champion North Texas, the Cowboys are looking to exceed expectations in a newly expanded Big 12 conference. Reloading with top recruiting and transfer classes, the Pokes’ young squad, led by transfer Mike Marsh (Jacksonville), is getting back in the saddle on their way to the top of the conference.
As the only non-P5 team in the tournament, St. Bonaventure looks to make its move in what appears to be a weaker Atlantic 10 conference this season. Returning all five starters and gaining veteran leadership from the portal in Charles Pride (Bryant) and Mika Adams-Woods (Cincinnati), Mark Schmidt will have his guys ready to battle for the A-10 title and could become a name to watch come March.
2023 Legends Classic Predictions
Oklahoma State vs. St. Bonaventure (Nov. 16) – 6:30 p.m. – ESPNU
The first matchup of the tournament slates two teams that are under the radar. The Cowboys have most believing they have this game won from the start, but the Bonnies are a tougher squad than most believe. Having the core and veteran leadership that Bonaventure has, the Bonnies could put Oklahoma State on upset alert and advance to the championship game.
Auburn vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 16) – 9:00 p.m. – ESPN2
With all the changes and uncertainties within the Fighting Irish locker room, it’s hard to see them coming away with a victory over Auburn. Jones’ shooting capabilities and Broome’s rebounding ability are tough to match up against. Pearl’s squad pulls out the win and advances to the championship.
Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 17) – 4:30 p.m. – ESPNU
Oklahoma State finds themselves in a similar position to four years prior. In this case, they find themselves consolation game winners once again with a convincing win over the Fighting Irish with their young core and all becomes well in Boynton Jr.’s return to Brooklyn.
Auburn vs. St. Bonaventure (Nov. 17) – 7:00 p.m. – ESPN2
In what could shape up to be a fantastic championship, the Bonnies look to keep the game close and could even take down the Tigers. But it will be hard to contain Pearl’s squad, so I’ll take Auburn winning a closely contested matchup and going home as Legends Classic champions for a second time.