Preview: Pac-12 China Game

By Andrew Chin, November 2, 2016

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After last year’s historic game, the Pac-12 returns to Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 12 to kick off the college basketball regular season with an on-court battle between academic superpowers Harvard and Stanford. Here’s everything you need to know about the Pac-12’s second ever China game.

Why is this game in China?

Presented by Alibaba, the Pac-12 trip is funded by the e-commerce giant and also includes an educational seminar for both universities held at their Hangzhou headquarters. It’s a big initiative for the Ali Sports division and provides the Pac-12 schools a chance to recruit mainland students. The game will air live in America on ESPN and provides an authentic college basketball atmosphere with crowds raucously supporting their alma mater. Last year’s game featured Marquese Chriss, who was drafted eighth overall by the Phoenix Suns in this year’s NBA draft.

Harvard: Siyani Chambers

Is Harvard any good?

Forget about last season’s mediocre 14-16 record. Under head coach Tommy Amaker, the Harvard Crimson has already won five Ivy League titles and produced point guard Jeremy Lin. They’ve managed to recruit four freshmen ranked in EPSN’s Top 100 List highlighted by point guard Bryce Aiken, who turned down numerous offers from more established college basketball powers. Senior Zena Edosomwa (13.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last season) and sophomore Tommy McCarthy complements the young core that goes into the season with high hopes.

Stanford: Marcus Sheffield

Is Stanford any good?

While they’ve won two of the past five National Invitation Tournament (NIT) titles, the Stanford Cardinals endured a mediocre season last year, finishing 15-15. New head coach Jerod Haase will attempt to summon the same magic that he used in guiding the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to the NCAA tournament in 2015 in reviving Stanford. While last year’s leading scorer Rosco Allen is gone, the team has brought back  10 of its top 11 scorers from last year, as well as highly touted freshmen Kodye Pugh and Trevor Stanback.

Which school is better?

Both schools are currently ranked No. 1 (Harvard) and No. 2 (Stanford) in the annual Academy Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Harvard boasts eight US presidents, 62 living billionaires and 150 Nobel laureates among their alumni.

Dubbed by Slate as “the Harvard of the 21st century” and the New York Times as “America’s ‘it’ school,” Stanford makes up for its lack of US presidents (although JFK did attend and drop out) with its growing economic power. Its faculty and alumni have founded companies like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Tesla Motors, Netflix and Snapchat, generating more than USD2.7 trillion a year. It is also the alma mater of 60 Nobel laureates, 17 astronauts and 30 living billionaires.

Nov 12, noon, RMB80-980. Mercedes-Benz Arena, see event listing.

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