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What to know for Duke men's basketball's Canada trip

The Blue Devils will visit both Toronto (above) and Montreal (below), Canada's two most populous cities, during their preseason tour.
The Blue Devils will visit both Toronto (above) and Montreal (below), Canada's two most populous cities, during their preseason tour.

When Duke travels north of the border this week, it will go up against a trio of Canadian schools in the country's two largest cities. The Chronicle gets you ready for the Blue Devils' preseason tour with a primer on Duke's competition, rule differences and more.

Who: The opponents

Ryerson University

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Undergraduate enrollment: 36,347

Nickname: Rams

Famous alumnus: ESPN anchor and personality Adnan Virk

The skinny: Ryerson finished the 2017 regular season with a 17-6 record, good for the No. 5 seed in the U Sports (Canada's college athletics governing body) Final 8 tournament. The Rams wound up falling to Calgary in the championship game.

Player to watch: F Keevon Small (8.8 PPG, 42.0 FG%, 4.8 RPG in 2017)

University of Toronto

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Undergraduate enrollment: 70,890

Nickname: Varsity Blues

Famous alumnus: Journalist Malcolm Gladwell

The skinny: Although Toronto limped to a 13-11 regular season last year, the Varsity Blues are coached by John Campbell, who has worked as an assistant for Team Canada, and they have recorded back-to-back winning records after five straight losing seasons.

Player to watch: G Evan Shadkami (10.6 PPG, 35.5 3PT%, 2.2 RPG in 2017)

McGill University

Location: Montreal, Quebec

Undergraduate enrollment: 40,493

Nickname: Redmen

Famous alumni: Inventor of basketball James Naismith, current Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau

The skinny: McGill ended 2017 with a 26-12 record on its way to the No. 3 seed in the U Sports tournament. The Redmen also ran into Calgary, losing to the Dinos in the semifinals, but captured their fifth conference title in the last six seasons.

Player to watch: G Alex Paquin (18.3 PPG, 1.5 APG, 33.3 3PT% in 2017)

What: The FIBA rules

Since these games will be in Canada, Duke will play its exhibition contests under FIBA rules even though the Blue Devils will be listed as the "home" team. Thus, there will be a few key differences:

  • Duration: Instead of two 20-minute halves, the games will feature four 10-minute quarters with a 24-second shot clock and an eight-second backcourt violation.
  • 3-point line: The FIBA arc measures at 22 feet, 1.75 inches vs. the NCAA arc, which comes in at 20 feet, 9 inches.
  • Bonus: In each quarter, the fifth team foul and beyond results in two free throws. There is no one-and-one.
  • Goaltending: Once the ball touches the rim, players can reach into the cylinder to grab the rebound unlike in the NCAA.
  • Timeouts: In the first and second quarters, the teams get a total of two full timeouts. In the third and fourth quarters, they get a total of three full timeouts. And unlike under NCAA rules, only coaches can call timeouts.

Where: The cities and arenas

Toronto: The capital city of Ontario and the most populous city in all of Canada, Toronto is less than 100 miles from Niagara Falls and the U.S.-Canada border. The Paramount Fine Foods Centre hosts the Mississauga Steelheads, a junior league hockey team, and the Toronto 905, the G-League affiliate of the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

  • Wednesday, August 15: vs. Ryerson, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, August 17: vs. Toronto, 6 p.m.

Montreal: Founded in 1642, Montreal is the second-most populous city in Canada and part of the province of Quebec. French is the official language, but English is also spoken. Place Bell, just about 30 minutes from downtown Montreal in Laval, seats 10,000 and is home to the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.

  • Sunday, August 19: vs. McGill, 3 p.m.

Why: Duke's most recent foreign tours

The Blue Devils had to cancel a preseason tour to the Dominican Republic in 2017 due to head coach Mike Krzyzewski's knee-replacement surgery. Duke's last tour before that was in 2011, when the team visited China and the United Arab Emirates.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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