While no tours or specific schedules have been officially announced, we are being told by multiple sources that plans are being made for the next wave of NCAA Division 1 teams to make their way north of the border for games this summer against U-Sports programs. Expect at least five teams – likely more – to start their seasons with games in Canada. Among the teams we are hearing that could visit:
Cincinnati… Bearcats Head Coach Mick Cronin has been taking his teams to Canada since the early 2000’s when he and his Associate Head Coach Darren Savino coached at Murray State; Racers visited Ottawa in 2005. This would be the third time a Cronin-coached team would visit Canada, most recently when the Bearcats came in September, 2010. Recall the Cincinnati/Carleton game drew about 5,000 fans to Scotiabank Place in Kanata and Cincinnati won 87-70. Bearcats come off arguably the best overall season in the Cronin era with a school-record 30+ wins, the American Athletic Conference championship and their highest ever Cronin era seed (#2) in the NCAA tournament. Cronin coached under Rick Pitino and Savino was high school teammates with both Bobby Hurley Jr. (Arizona State Head Coach) and Danny Hurley (new Head Coach at UConn) under the legendary Bobby Hurley Sr. at Jersey City St. Anthony’s Friars where they won what was then the mythical USA High School championship in 1989. Cincinnati blew a 23 point lead, losing their second game of this past season’s Tournament in dramatic fashion to Nevada.
Ole Miss… The Rebels compete in the always-tough SEC (Southeast Conference) and would be making their first-ever trip to Canada. Ole Miss (12-20, 5-13) struggled through a coaching change this past season as Andy Kennedy, the winningest coach in program in Oxford, resigned on February 18, 2018. On March 15, 2018, the school hired former Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis as the new head coach. Rebels currently have at least four Eastern European players on their roster.
South Dakota State… The Jackrabbits, the three-time defending Summit League champions and NCAA tournament participants last visited Canada in 2010 playing a series of games against Manitoba and Winnipeg. SDSU was a 12 seed this past season losing their first NCAA tournament game to #5 Ohio State 81-73. The Jackrabbits could again feature exciting 6’10” Mike Daum, who nearly singlehandidly authored an upset against the Buckeyes in this past season’s NCAA tournament. Daum, a rising senior who was a walk-on at SDSU, has put his name into this summer’s NBA draft but has not hired an agent.
Maryland Eastern Shore… Hawks would also be making their first-ever trip to Canada under interim coach Clifford Reed. Maryland Eastern Shore, which finished 7-25 this past season, competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic conference which in past years has had teams including Morgan State and Florida A&M visit Canada. Just about three weeks ago, on March 27, 2018, Maryland Eastern Shore announced that Reed, who was an Assistant on recently dismissed Bobby Collins‘ staff, would serve as the interim head coach for the 2018-19 season, after which the school will conduct a national search when the season ends.
We hope to have more as more official announcements are made.