Top NCAA basketball teams have fond memories of trips to Canada

R.J. Barrett arrived home with the Duke Blue Devils on Monday. (Mark Blinch/CP)

The Duke Blue Devils aren’t the first prominent NCAA basketball team to come play in Canada.

A rule allowing NCAA teams to make one out-of-country trip every four years, which comes along with 10 extra practices, has caused a steady stream of squads to cross the border in recent years. Duke, featuring top Canadian rookie R.J. Barrett, begins a three-game Canadian tour against U Sports teams on Wednesday night in Mississauga, Ont.

While NCAA teams have won the majority of games, not all U Sports teams have not been pushovers. Perennial powerhouse Carleton, for example, has notched double-digit wins over Cincinnati, Ole Miss and South Dakota State this month.

Here’s a look at previous Canadian visits by some of the biggest hoops schools in the United States:


Kansas men (2004 at Vancouver and Burnaby, B.C.; 2008 at Ottawa)

Kansas won all five of its Canadian games. The highlight was a trip to Ottawa after a national championship in 2007. The Jayhawks edged Carleton 84-83 in the showcase game at the Canadian Tire Centre, the home of the Ottawa Senators.


Florida men (2006 at St. Catharines, Ont.)

The reigning NCAA champion Gators filled the gym at Brock University for a one-game appearance. The Gators crushed Brock 107-51, kicking off a season in which Florida would go on to defend its title. The Billy Donovan-coached team featured the likes of Al Horford and Joakim Noah.


Villanova men (2007, at Ottawa)

Coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats played three games in the nation’s capital, winning by double digits against Queen’s, Carleton and Ottawa. The Wildcats went on to reach the Sweet 16 that season.


Kentucky men (2010, at Windsor, Ont.)

Coach John Calipari’s second season running the Wildcats kicked off in southwestern Ontario, where Kentucky won a pair of games against Windsor and also beat Western. Led by point guard Brandon Knight, now with the Phoenix Suns, the Wildcats went on to reach the Final Four that season.


Syracuse men (2013, at Ottawa and Montreal)

The Orange, coming off a Final Four appearance and bringing in Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis, knocked off Carleton in overtime in a thriller at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Jim Boeheim-coached squad also posted easy wins over Ottawa, Bishop’s and McGill.


Connecticut women (2017, at Toronto)

The top-ranked Huskies scheduled a game in Toronto, in part to celebrate the career of Canadian star Kia Nurse. The Hamilton native scored 24 points as Connecticut blasted Duquesne 104-52 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at Ryerson University.

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