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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Idaho hoops heads for China to play Atlas Challenge

The Vandal men's basketball team is leaving for China on June 10 to participate in the 2016 Atlas Challenge, the school announced Tuesday. 

The Atlas Challenge is a tournament based in Suzhou, China mostly consisting of various national teams from Europe and Asia.

The only participant from the United States, Idaho will take on the national teams of Lithuania, Macedonia and last year's runner-up Iran in Group B. 

Idaho tips off on June 14. 

Host China, Japan, New Zealand and Belarus comprise the rest of the eight-team field. 

The 2015 format of the Atlas Challenge paired the top two teams in each group in a semifinal, third place game and championship game while the bottom two teams in each group played in a fifth-place semifinal, seventh place game and a fifth place game. 

A club called 'US Vocational Wing' represented the United States and placed fourth in the tournament. 

Idaho 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 tournament doesn't seem to have a website and the release didn't specify if the games will be available for broadcast. 

College basketball programs are allowed to take one international trip every four years. 

The Idaho women's basketball program traveled to Cancun, Mexico last season in a regular season tournament where it barely fell to Duke 74-68 and then thrashed Texas State and Iowa State. 

The men's basketball program took a seven-game, three-week excursion to Hungary in 1995 under then head coach Joe Cravens. 

Idaho is coming off a 21-13 campaign and a semifinal loss in the Big Sky tournament in its eighth season under Don Verlin. 



Sean Kramer
Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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