Gees will face a variety of play styles against teams from all over the US

Photo courtesy of Marta Kierkus

Five months have passed since the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team had the best season in its history. A 38-5 record against all competition was good enough to carry them to the national championship final against the Carleton Ravens. In the end they walked away with a silver medal, but there was a lot of hope left after the final buzzer.

Just as the last 11 years have held, the Gee-Gees will spend most of August preparing for their season against some of the best competition in North America.

College basketball in the United States is admittedly much more prominent than in Canada. Teams that compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are the cream of the crop at the amateur level and it has become a yearly tradition for typically four NCAA teams to come to Canada and take on some of the best this country has to offer.

These pre-season exhibition matches are a valuable time to learn and grow while gaining needed game experience against high-level squads on both sides. The Gee-Gees have to adjust to the size and speed of their American counterparts and NCAA teams will have to get used to a faster paced game, mainly due to a shorter 24-second shot clock.

Game 1 vs. Indiana Hoosiers, Aug. 10 (Champlain College, Montreal)

See coverage of the game here.

Game 2 vs. Vermont Catamounts, Aug. 11 (Montpetit Hall)

Vermont is by no means a top caliber team in the United States, but they were very successful in the 2013–14 campaign. A 22-11 record saw the Catamounts lose in the semi-final of their conference championship and ultimately gain an invitation to the National Invitation Tournament, where they lost in the first round. The team is now two years removed from competing in the NCAA tournament but is still a quality squad with good young talent.

Game 3 vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames, Aug. 12 (Montpetit Hall)

This will probably be the easiest competition of the four NCAA games. The Flames had a season to forget in 2013–14, posting a 6-25 total record against all competition.

But since the Flames have a young and growing core with a lot to prove, they may put up a tough fight and try to shoot the Gee-Gees out of the gym. However, the Gees are very strong on both ends and will more than likely not have an issue putting away the inexperienced Illinois team.

Game 4 vs. Memphis Tigers, Aug. 13 (Montpetit Hall)

The next most marquee matchup of the pre-season will pit the Gees against the Memphis Tigers, who are a perennial contender for the national championship. They had a stellar season last year, where they posted a 24-10 record and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

This Memphis team isn’t as strong as the 2008 version that made the national championship final with coach John Calipari and future NBA MVP Derrick Rose, but it’s still an incredibly strong squad.

Look for a similar style between the Gees and the Tigers: both should have very balanced offensive and defensive attacks. You will not want to miss this matchup.

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