Report: Washington, Texas trek to Shanghai to open 2015-16 season
The 2013-14 season opened on an US army base in South Korea as Georgetown and Oregon faced off, a meeting that re-introduced the world to Joshua Smith and was the initial win that propelled Oregon into the top 25 rankings. The trip must have been a success: according to the Pac-12, Washington and Texas will open the 2015-16 season on November 13 in Shanghai.
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One immediate take-away is whether this contest will help recruiting efforts. This game will present both teams with massive exposure: playing in China will be hyped months before the season begins, and countless classes of recruits will be aware of the two participants. UW and Texas will be making history by making the trip to Shanghai -- this match-up will be the first between college or pro teams in China. Also, do either of the schools, or conferences, begin to recruit westward? Are there prospects in Asia and the Philippines that the conference feels they can tap into? The potential for recruiting and marketing makes this event a must-have for both the Pac-12 and Big 12.
This seems like a strange moment to announce this game -- why in the middle of conference tournament week? -- but it is also hard not to get excited for both a future season of college basketball and the expansion of the college game. For years, colleges take their teams on preseason overseas trips every four seasons, and this is just an extension of that philosophy.