Report: Maryland-Kentucky to Play First Game in Nets' New NYC Stadium?

One thing that's been a real point of emphasis in recent days for Maryland's athletic department is getting more creative in the scheduling department. Football has seen a move to Baltimore to go along with games against Notre Dame and Texas. Basketball saw some small steps toward reviving a Georgetown rivalry, but that hasn't solidified, at least not yet.

Even if it never does, Kevin Anderson and the scheduling department have found something almost as good, if not better, assuming this is real. Per Crain's New York (a local business paper, relatively well-respected) with a hat tip to abt925:

A major highlight will be the [Barclays Center]'s first basketball game, a college matchup of Kentucky versus Maryland, according to sources. Also scheduled are boxing and tennis events, as well as 48 Feld Entertainment productions, including the Ringling Bros. circus and Disney on Ice.

The Barclays Center, by the by, is the new New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets stadium. It's going to be a relatively massive deal, obviously, and the renderings look impressive. Safe to say it'd be an important event for everyone involved. The stadium isn't scheduled to open until September 2012, and if it's to be the first meaningful game played in the arena it'd have to be in late October, one of the first games of the year, to get in before the NBA season starts on November 1 (or doesn't). And I'm guessing that if that's the case, this would probably serve as the de facto season kick-off, the first "real game" of the year.

The positives are obvious, but I'll enumerate 'em anyway. First off, whoever plays in the first game of the stadium is getting a ton of press, not only from the traditional venues but also from local, NY-based press, thus expanding Maryland's brand. This is multiplied if it gets extra attention for being an early-season game. A game in NY would appeal to the alumni base in the Big Apple, which I would assume is fairly substantial. And it gets a game against a highly-ranked, quality, name opponent, which is always a bonus.

Oh, and of course it's a chance to be in the national spotlight. A win in that game could do wonders: in the short-term, for the publicity of the team and school, and for recruiting. It's also an opportunity for Mark Turgeon's Maryland to "arrive," so to speak, on the national scene. This year is expected to be a rebuilding effort, but next season should have much more talent and depth.

But a big disclaimer: sources are often wrong, particularly unnamed ones, so don't get too excited. Just fair warning.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part: a chance for Terrell Stoglin to "cook" arch-nemesis Ryan Harrow - who would just be getting eligible to play for Kentucky after his transfer from N.C. State - one more time.

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