BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo men's basketball team will get an early head start on the 2012-13 season, venturing to the great white north for four games against Canadian college teams. This tour marks the first time since the 2008-09 season that the team has hit the road for the "Cross-Border Battle," with that season being the year that UB won the Mid-American Conference regular season title.
There is little coincidence for head coach Reggie Witherspoon, who knows just how important the six-day trip will be for the young squad that graduated four of its top five scorers from 2011-12.
"This is huge for us. It gives us a chance to bond and a chance to compete against someone other than ourselves, which is priceless," Witherspoon said. "I think having someone new and different coming at us full speed in an actual game and showing us thing we haven't seen before will be a great way to prepare for this upcoming season."
The tour's first game will be Aug. 11, with a 7 pm game against the Montreal All-Stars at Champlain-St. Lambert.
The next day, the Bulls will remain in town for a game against traditional power Laval University at 3 pm on Sunday. Laval is a balanced scoring team, with seven players averaging over five points per game last season. Always in the Quebec League playoff hunt, Laval has won the league in 2004 and '08, and came in second in '05, '07, '09, '10, and '11. It will be a stiff test for the Bulls, as Laval brings a roster of players that average over 22 years old and have an average team height of 6'4". The team is led by young post player Boris Hadzimuratovic, who averaged team highs in points and rebounds last season.
After a day off, Buffalo will take on one of the very best teams in all of Canada, facing Carleton University on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 8 pm. The two teams met in UB's last trip north, with Carleton taking down the Bulls 84-74 just a few days after losing to defending national champion Kansas by one point. In 2011-12, the Ravens went a perfect 28-0 and won the Wilson Cup and CIS title while outscoring opponents by an average of over 38 points per game. The CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) is a national tournament of eight teams and recognizes the Canadian national champion. Carleton has won two straight national titles and eight over the past 10 years.
In the team's final game, they will face the Brookwood Elite All-Star Team at College Jean-De-Brebeuf in Montreal on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 1 pm.