Source: China State Council Information Office
Some of America’s top collegiate hoops stars will showcase their skills at Shanghai’s Baoshan Sport Center on Saturday when the Arizona State Sun Devils clash with the Colorado Buffaloes.
Pac-12 became the first US league to host a regular-season contest in China when Washington played Texas in 2015.
This year’s Pac-12 China contest, presented by Alibaba Group, marks the first time two of the Pacific conference’s teams will face each other in a foreign country.
“We created the Pac-12 China Game to complement the initiatives our universities have already taken around education, alumni relations, and strategic partnerships here in China,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said at a media conference in on Thursday.
“It’s important to note that more than 30,000 Chinese students currently attend our 12 universities, so the connection is already there. And for our student athletes who are at a critical moment in their development, this is a great chance to learn about important societal, cultural and economic trends taking place across the world’s largest country and fastest growing economy.”
The China clash also serves as the Pac-12 season opener.
“There’s a little more urgency in our practices; just trying to get our system in place and throwing more at our players to hopefully retain what we need to get done,” Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley said.
“We can’t afford to lose time. We’ve got to make sure we’re productive every day here.”
Colorado is equally pumped.
“We’re going to play a heck of an Arizona State team. You look at Bobby’s teams and what they’ve done… it’s pretty special,” said Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle.
“The one thing we know about Arizona State is they’re going to be ready to go. We’ve got to be ready to go ourselves.”
On Wednesday, the teams participated in a pair of China-US College Basketball Friendlies at the Suzhou New District Cultural and Sports Center in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.
Colorado beat a united team from Tsinghua and Suzhou Universities 109-42, while Arizona State thumped a united team from Peking University and Suzhou 113-64.
“We hope the experience we’ve gained through the cooperation with the Pac-12 can be used in our domestic university basketball league,” said David Liu, vice-president of Alibaba Sports, the event co-organizer.
Along with basketball, another priority for the American players is exploring and experiencing Chinese culture.
“I’m excited. None of our staff or players have ever visited China before,” Boyle said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to experience a different country, a different culture.”
The organizers have prepared many sightseeing and cultural activities for the Sun Devils and Buffaloes-and the teams are thrilled to have such experiences.
“China is an experience that not many people can have. We get to see a whole new world, and I think that’s awesome,” said Arizona State guard Remy Martin.