Fresh off one of the best seasons in program history, the Idaho men’s basketball team will takes its talents to China this summer for the 2016 Atlas Challenge.
The Vandals head out on Friday, June 10, with the tournament scheduled to begin on June 14. Idaho will play in five games in the Challenge, then play three more games following.
The Atlas Challenge will feature seven national teams, as well as the University of Idaho. The teams are broken into two groups of four for the opening round-robin play. The top-two teams from each group advance to the winners’ bracket, while the bottom two will move to the losers’ bracket. China won the Atlas Challenge last year, defeating Iran in the championship game. Lithuania took third, defeating the team from the United States.
In this year’s Challenge, the Vandals will meet Lithuania, Macedonia and Iran in the opening round. Perennial powerhouse Lithuania has already qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games and will provide a very tough challenge with a roster that features a handful of NBA talent.
Group A consists of Japan, Belarus, New Zealand and the host China. China has also already qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games, and will be using the Challenge as a tune-up prior to the event.
The team will then travel to ZhuZhou to play three more games, against China, Macedonia and a team from Lithuania, before returning to the States on June 25.
The NCAA allows programs to take international trips once every four years to help enrich the experiences of its athletes while also growing the game globally.