The college basketball regular season tips off Friday, and while there is a full slate of games throughout the day, the last matchup of the night will actually take place Saturday afternoon in Shanghai when No. 21 UCLA takes on Georgia Tech in the Pac-12 China Game (Friday at 11:30 p.m. EST on ESPN).
This is the third year of the Pac-12 China Game, which has served as the opening game of the Pac-12 men's basketball regular season. When Washington beat Texas in the inaugural game in 2015, the Pac-12 became the first U.S. sports league, professional or collegiate, to host a regular-season game in China. Stanford beat Harvard in the second annual game last season.
UCLA and Georgia Tech arrived in Shanghai on Sunday for a weeklong trip to China, which will encompass more than just the regular-season opener for both teams. From a trip to Hangzhou to tour Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce goliath and one of the most valuable companies in the world, to an afternoon at Shanghai Disneyland, it's a trip both teams will likely remember far more than the result of the game.
"We took a trip to Australia 20 years ago when I was at Arizona, and my teammates and I still talk about that to this day," said Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner, who was a walk-on freshman on Arizona's 1997 national championship team. "This will be something that 20 years from now these guys will be talking about. You don't get these opportunities too often. It just shows you how great that orange ball is and the opportunities that it can give you."
Tuesday, Nov. 7
Hangzhou to Shanghai
Monday, Nov. 6
Alibaba headquarters tour (Hangzhou, China)