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James Naismith Classic NCAA triple-header to feature big names

James Naismith Classic Toronto NCAA Basketball
James Naismith Classic Toronto NCAA Basketball

For the past 20 years NCAA basketball teams have been making the trip north of the border to take on Canadian U Sports teams in early August as part of the NCAA vs. U Sports exhibition series.

Now it looks like we are ready for the next step — regular season, non-conference games between NCAA schools on fertile Canadian basketball soil.

According to multiple reports, and now officially released a massive six-team, non-conference, regular-season triple-header clash is set for Saturday, November 16th, 2019 in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.

Sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame — the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (A-10) will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big 10). The Buffalo Bulls (MAC) will face the Harvard Crimson (Ivy) and the Tennessee Volunteers (SEC) will square off against the Pac 12 champions Washington Huskies.

A total of four Canadian’s will be featured in the marque homecoming event including, Harvard’s Danilo Djuricic Brampton, Ont.), and Luka Sakota (Oakville, Ont.) The Crimson also feature Ottawa’s Noah Kirkwood. Buffalo’s Dominic Johnson (Windsor, Ont.) would round-out the potential list.

Noah Kirkwood Harvard Basketball NCAA Triple Header Clash
Noah Kirkwood controls the pace against Georgetown Hoyas – Photo: Harvard Athletics

Noah Kirkwood (6’7, 215 lbs) guard had a productive freshman season with 11.1 rebounds, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists as the Crimson (18-11, 10-4 Conf) just missed out on the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament with a close loss to Yale in the conference title game.

The Buffalo Bulls’ are coming off their most successful season in the program’s history with an outstanding 32-4, 16-2 record and a six-seed in the West region.†

Lamonte Turner Tennessee Volunteers Toronto NCAA Basketball Triple Header
Lamonte Turner & Tennessee Volunteers featured in Toronto NCAA Basketball Triple Header

The marquee match-up pits the Tennessee Volunteers against the Washington Huskies. Tennessee finished second in the SEC with a strong 31-6, 15-3 campaign for head coach Rick Barnes – bowing out to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

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The Huskies, although not a traditional Canadian destination, will become the first NCAA men’s basketball team to make back-to-back trips to Canada.

In 2018 the Vancouver Showcase tipped off — bringing four NCAA men’s (Washington, Santa Clara, Minnesota, Texas A&M) and eight women’s basketball team’s to the west coast of Canada — marking the first time NCAA division one games played in Canada counted as non-conference records.

With Toronto continuously out-churning the mecca (New York City) and other traditional American powerhouses for quality NCAA and NBA basketball prospects — it makes more than dollars and cents — much like the Empire Classic — to ensure that the northern city that never sleeps has it’s annual NCAA regular season dosage.

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