1. Here is an unofficial list of teams going on foreign trips in August from league officials as well as Basketball Travelers (there could be many more to come): 1. Alabama -- Belgium, Netherlands; 2. Auburn -- Bahamas; 3. Clemson -- Italy; 4. Florida State -- Greece; 5. Syracuse -- Canada; 6. Nevada -- Italy; 7. New Mexico -- Australia; 8. Temple -- France/Italy; 9. Oklahoma -- Belgium, France; 10. Arkansas State -- Calgary; 11. Maryland -- Bahamas; 12. Penn State -- France, Belgium, UK; 13. UNCG -- Spain; 14. Butler -- Australia; 15. Rhode Island -- Italy; 16. Hampton -- The Bahamas; 17. South Carolina State -- Bahamas; 18. Mercer -- Germany, Lithuania, Estonia; 19. Saint Joseph's -- Italy; 20. FIU -- Spain; 21. Cleveland State -- Netherlands, Belgium, France; 22.. Kent State -- Bahamas; 23. NJIT -- Netherlands, Belgium, France; 24. Wisconsin -- Canada; 25. IUPUI -- Italy; 26. Towson -- Canada.
2. On this list above, the teams that can use these foreign trips the most are: Alabama -- after an turbulent offseason with the roster; Syracuse -- introducing a new leading point guard; New Mexico -- a veteran team playing for a first-time head coach in Craig Neal; Temple -- adjusting to life without Khalif Wyatt; Maryland -- discovering a new post presence sans Alex Len; Rhode Island -- a supposedly break through year for Danny Hurley; Wisconsin -- figuring out a way for Josh Gasser to play with Traevon Jackson on the perimeter. The foreign trips are a tremendous bonding experience for the team and staff and allow them to practice for 10 days prior to departing. The collegial experience in a low-stress environment is hard to duplicate during the regular season.
3. Lost among the alignment moves that didn't happen on July 1 are schools that stayed put like UMass. The Minutemen will have to make some decisions with their football program wanting to be relevant. UMass was a finalist for a spot in the American before the league went with Tulsa for its latest spot. The Minutemen should eventually lobby to be included. UConn actually has only one school left (after Rutgers leaves) in the Northeast in Temple. The Huskies have always fancied themselves above their northern neighbors, but adding the Minutemen for all sports makes too much sense. If UConn can check its pride then pushing for inclusion of UMass would be another way to bolster the American -- adding a rising basketball program and a school that would at the very least get the American brand name in the Boston area when UMass comes to the capital city (usually at least once a year).