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James Naismith Classic NCAA triple-header to feature big names

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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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NCAA

Go Cat Go! Walter McCarthy’s Evansville Ace’s Kentucky Alma Mater

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Go Cat Go! Walter Mccarthy’s Evansville Ace’s Kentucky Alma Mater
Ace High...

1996

Before starring in Spike Lee’s ‘He Got Game’ with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. Before starring in the NBA with the storied Boston Celtics. Before forging a post playing career as an R&B star. Triple-threat, triple-teamed, Robert Horry like with the clutch triple, off the bench, role playing great Walter McCarty won a National Championship with John Calipari’s U.K., University of Kentucky Wildcats, cutting down nets.

2019

Twenty three years later with Coach Cap’s head in his hands in an indelible image, COACH Walter McCarty aced an upset in the NCAA with an epic win for his Evansville boys against his legendary Kentucky Wildcats alma mater.

Once an alumnus, always an alumni.

But last night it was tears of champagne joy he shed as the cats out their cradle cried.

All this madness…and we’re still a long way from March.

But the Evansville Aces keep marching in a purple haze with this ace in the hole.

And it all happened at the legendary Rupp Arena for these two teams first ever match-up.

When Walt continued his Celtics career post-playing days by becoming an assistant coach in Boston, he not only soaked up the experience but he also was such a cult icon in the city he had his very own ‘I Love Waltah’ t-shirts for the fans in the stands (that even this purple and gold Laker fan rocked…we go back some). But last night as he bounded into the locker room his shirt and tie where soaked in bubbly as he bounded around with his team, embraced in jubilant joy and the made dreams of some young men looking to grow in this college game.

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And how about this for a coming of age?

67-64. David-Goliath.

Kentucky where looking for the perfect season with their latest NBA prospects this year for a college that sends them all to the big leagues (Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and of course…our man Walt), but Evansville left their mark and their one on history.

Nobody deserves it more than McCarty and his boys.

And for all the teams to beat. This is Basketball God poetic. Walt Whitman couldn’t have wrote it better for Walt McCarty.

Ending his teams 39 game winning streak just like that, Calipari said of Walt’s men, “Walter and their team deserved to win. If we would have somehow pulled it out, it would have been, kind of wouldn’t even have been fair because they fought us the whole game and they were the tougher team.”

And as McCarty tells is, “this is the top”!

Beating the first seed U.K., we all know whose number one tonight.

For the aces.

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NCAA

Canadian Nate Darling 37-point explosion keeps Delaware unbeaten at 4-0

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Canadian Nate Darling 37-point Explosion Keeps Delaware Unbeaten At 4-0

Canadian sharpshooter Nate Darling (Bedford, NS) wrapped-up an excellent opening NCAA week with a 37-point career-high explosion to help the Delaware Blue Hens win the 2019 Sunshine Slam tournament.

The Blue Hens defeat the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Road Runners 91-79 to remain unbeaten at 4-0 for the first time since 1999-2000.

Darling buried 12-of-19 field goals, including 8-of-10 triples and 5-of-6 free-throws in 40 minutes of action in the non-conference win.

“I got in the zone where the ball was constantly going in, and was just living in the moment. I’ve built confidence in myself and my teammates, and Kevin and Ryan take the pressure off me as well. UTSA started doubling me and Kevin really took over down the stretch, so kudos to him.”

The Bedford, Nova Scotia native connected on 19 first-half points and caught fire in the second-half by scoring the Blue Hens first 18 points of the half — increasing his total to 37 points with 10:28 in remaining in the game.

The 6’5″ red-shirt junior transferred from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) after two seasons and scored 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, plus 6 rebounds in the Blue Hens win over Oakland Golden Grizzlies. The former Nova Scotia basketball standout was equally impressive with 20 points and 6 rebounds in the win over the Southern Illinois Salukis.

Darling averaged 25.7 points per game, shot 26-of-49 (53%) from the floor and knocked down 17-of-27 (63%) triples on his way to be being named MVP of the tournament. Fellow Canadian guard Kevin Kangu (Burlington, Ont.) was also named to the all-tournament team.

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The Blues will look to keep their perfect start alive when they take on the Lafayette Leopards on November 16.

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