Cards to face Canada's best in Ottawa

When Rick Pitino takes his young Louisville team to Canada for a three game swing later this summer, the Cardinals will get a chance to face the best the Canadians have to offer. Who will the Cards face when the travel north of the border? has the latest.

When Rick Pitino takes his young Louisville team to Canada later this summer, the Cardinals will get a chance to face the best the Canadians have to offer.

During a three game exhibition tournament over Labor Day weekend, Louisville will play Carleton University, the four-time defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Champions, Canada's equivalent to the NCAA Tournament.

Last season, Carleton played three teams from the United States – Murray State, Arizona State and UCLA. The Ravens were competitive against the Racers, falling 67-63 in Ottawa last September. Carleton also played Arizona State tough, falling 70-58 to the Sun Devils in Tempe. UCLA, the NCAA Runners-up, knocked off the Ravens 78-51 in L.A.

Dave Smart, Carleton's head coach, ranks as one of the top coaches in Canada. The CIS National Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005, Smart has guided Carleton to a 160-18 record during his tenure. This summer, Smart will serve as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Men's Basketball program. Under Smart, Carleton has won six straight OUA East regular season championships, and four straight (2003-2005) OUA and CIS National Championships.

The Cardinals will depart Louisville for Ottawa on Sept. 1 and will play their first game the following evening (Sept. 2) at Carleton University at 8 p.m. U of L will play at the University of Ottawa on Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. before closing out its Canadian competition with a game against Laurentian University at 11 a.m. at Carleton's 2,500-seat Raven's Nest gymnasium. The team will return to Louisville following the game.

"This is as positive a situation as you can find, particularly in acclimating our incoming freshman," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "We will have the benefits of practicing as a team for 10 days before embarking on three games against good competition. It's a great start for our freshmen, who I expect to be integral factors on our team this year."

Carleton has won four straight Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Championships, including last season when the Ravens posted a 32-7 record, including exhibitions.

Ottawa, who like Carleton, is a member of the OUA conference, finished with an 18-4 league record last season. Ottawa returns four starters from that team, led by sophomore point guard Josh-Gibson Bascombe.

"We have four starters back and three talented freshmen coming in," DeAviero said. "Josh is our best player. He had four Division 1 schools looking at him coming out of high school."

Louisville's easiest game in Ottawa might come against Laurentian University.

Located in Sudbury, Ontario, Laurentian has been in a rebuilding mode the past few years. Laurentian has gone just 66-96 the past five seasons under head coach Virgil Hill. Laurentian also plays in the same league as both Carleton and Ottawa.

Prior to departing for the trip, the Cardinals will practice as a team from Aug. 22-31. It is the first international trip for a U of L basketball team since competing in the Suntory Ball event in Tokyo, Japan in 1981.

Canadian Team Websites

  • Carleton University
  • Laurentian University
  • Ottawa University

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