The University of Washington men’s basketball team, awaiting word on a bid to the NIT, will take part in the first regular-season contest by a U.S. collegiate or professional team in China. The Huskies face the University of Texas in Shanghai Nov. 13, 2015, according to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott Saturday.
The non-conference game, which will be televised on ESPN live in the U.S., is a landmark event in the Pac-12’s “Globalization Initiative,” which is an effort to promote the conference and its member institutions in China through student-athlete exchanges and sport.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this trip and to represent the Pac-12,” said University of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. “Basketball has become one of the most popular sports in China in the last decade and we’re excited to get over there and compete. This will be a very unique educational experience for our team and we’re really looking forward to it.”
The game will tip at 11 a.m. local time in Shanghai, which puts it at 7 p.m. on the U.S. West Coast, and 9 p.m. in Texas.
The idea is that the event will become an annual component of the Pac-12 men’s basketball season with a Pac-12 school playing against a non-conference opponent. In addition, the Pac-12 and the local Chinese host will develop ancillary events to promote the game and the participating universities.
“The Pac-12 and our universities are proud to be pioneers in China,” said Scott. “This event is a great step forward for our initiative designed to use sport and cultural exchange to support the international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach into China.”
In addition to the 2015 game, Scott announced that the conference will send a Pac-12 all-star men’s team to tour in China in August 2014. The team will travel to at least two cities and play two to three exhibition games against top Chinese professional teams and one game against a leading university team.
Oregon State University coach Craig Robinson will serve as head coach and name a roster of 12 or 13 athletes. As part of the tour, the athletes will have the opportunity to experience Chinese culture.