Next year, the Colorado men's basketball team will travel across half the world to face a familiar foe.
On Friday night, the Pac-12 Conference announced its fifth annual game in China will be contested between the Buffaloes and their rivals from Arizona State. The announcement arrived just before this year's edition of the contest Friday between Cal and Yale.
It will be the first time the game has featured two programs from the Pac-12, though the contest will be considered a nonconference game. In the league's rotating schedule, CU and the Sun Devils are slated to face each other just once during the 2019-20 Pac-12 season.
"Our team is thrilled to travel to China next year," CU athletic director Rick George said in a statement. "It will be a great learning experience for our student-athletes and a great opportunity for them to learn a different culture while simultaneously playing an exhibition game against a local Chinese team and a regular season game against Arizona State.
"Furthermore, we have over 1,000 CU Boulder international students from China, our largest enrollment of any foreign country. So knowing this game is happening in China will be a point of pride for our current students and serve as good exposure for future prospective students from China. This will be a great opportunity both culturally and athletically for all involved and we are looking forward to participating in this game."
While the Buffs have played numerous games in Hawaii and played in Puerto Rico early in the 1998-99 season, this will mark the first time a CU program from any sport will compete in Asia. The game tentatively is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2019.
Additionally, the announcement locks in the third confirmed opponent for the Buffs' 2019-20 nonconference dates. CU will make a trip to Colorado State and also will host San Diego in the completion of a two-for-one arrangement that continues in less than two weeks at San Diego.
"It's a great opportunity; a once in a lifetime trip for our players and staff," said CU head coach Tad Boyle, who has served as an assistant on USA Basketball youth national teams that have competed in Egypt and Toronto. "And it's not just about basketball; it's going to be a great experience for our players outside of basketball. It's a great initiative for our university, to get over there to China where we have a lot of students now and continue to recruit students from."
The Buffs tip off the 2018-19 season Tuesday night at home against Drake (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).