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Going getting tougher for Hoosiers in Classic

– The appetizers are over. Now it’s on to the main course.

Four teams with a combined 17 national championships and 117 NCAA tournament appearances will participate in the championship round of the Progressive Legends Classic.

No. 1 Indiana meets Georgia in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. today at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. No. 13 UCLA and Georgetown compete in the second semifinal. The championship and consolation games are Tuesday.

Indiana (3-0) breezed in its two Legends Classic Bloomington Regional contests, topping North Dakota State 87-61 and Sam Houston State 99-45.

“I felt like we played very well in those two games and did a good job on the defensive end and also offensively have done a really good job of sharing the basketball and taking advantage of the guys who can score that are on the floor,” IU associate head coach Tim Buckley said during a teleconference Friday.

The Hoosiers had 24 assists on 30 field goals Thursday against the Bearkats.

“We’ve done a good job of playing good team basketball right now,” Buckley said.

Indiana has won each of its first three games by at least 25 points for the first time since the 1979-80 season, according to ESPN Stats Info.

Georgia, meanwhile, has struggled early. The Bulldogs (1-2) dropped their second straight game on Thursday, falling to Southern Mississippi 62-60 in overtime.

“We’re off to a slower start than anticipated,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We have a relatively young team with nine freshmen and sophomores and we have not probably been as complete as we want to be.

“We’ve had some bright moments in lots of places and certainly some mistakes that need to be corrected.”

The Bulldogs are shooting just 37 percent from the floor.

Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a bright spot, averaging 20.3 points per game.

Youth has also been a theme for UCLA and Georgetown.

Most of the attention for 3-0 UCLA has been on a freshman who has not played.

Forward Shabazz Muhammad, one of the top freshmen in the country, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA before the Bruins’ season opener. He was cleared to play in the event on Friday.

“We’ll be very excited once we get him back,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said before hearing the result of the appeal. “ … He’s a great talent, a great kid. He works extremely hard. He has a great motor. I think he’s going to be a heck of a player.”

A freshman leads Georgetown (2-0) in scoring.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is averaging 15 points per game.

“Physically, he’s college-ready. He has a strong, mature body,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of the 6-foot-3, 227-pound guard.

“And he has a very good feel for the game. He understands what we’re trying to do.”


vs. Georgia
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Radio: 1250 AM, 102.7 FM

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