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Thursday, June 12, 2014
UK, UNC among Bahamas-bound

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

NCAA men's basketball teams are allowed to go on a foreign trip every four years, but rarely have so many high-major programs gone to the same location within a few weeks of each other like they will this August in the Bahamas.

Likely preseason No. 1 Kentucky, ACC title contender North Carolina, 2014 NCAA tournament teams Ohio State, Pitt, Cincinnati, and a possible 2015 tourney squad in Ole Miss highlight 13 Division I teams that will play staggered exhibition games in the Bahamas from Aug. 2 to Aug. 25.

Teams are allowed to practice a maximum of 10 times prior to leaving on the trip.

North Carolina will be making its second trip to the Bahamas later in the fall when the Tar Heels play in a loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field (Nov. 26-28) with 2014 Final Four teams Florida and Wisconsin, as well as tourney teams UCLA, Oklahoma and brand names Georgetown and Butler. UAB fills out the field.

The Battle 4 Atlantis will be played at Paradise Island in the ballroom of the Atlantis resort. The games in August are tentatively scheduled to be played for all the NCAA teams at Sir Kendall Isaac's Gym.

"Our time to go is now, and I like it because we have a lot of new guys,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said Thursday night.

Added Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin on Thursday: "That's exactly why we're going. We've got a lot of new guys. We've been planning this for two years.''

But teams like Kentucky, UNC, Pitt and Ole Miss return key members as well as important newcomers who can play on the trip.

"Six of our top seven return and we've got four new impact-level newcomers with two post-grads and and two junior college guards,'' Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said Thursday. "It's a good time to see how we should play.''

The other Division I teams competing in the Bahamas are Morehead State, UT-Chattanooga, Northern Arizona, Alabama State, Samford, Louisiana Tech and Portland State.

The following is the tentative schedule for the notable teams: Aug. 2: Pitt vs. Commonwealth Giants, 3 p.m.; Aug. 3: Pitt vs. Bahamas All-Stars, 3 p.m.; Aug. 5: Ole Miss vs. Providence Storm, 7 p.m.; Pitt vs. Street Legends All Stars, 9 p.m.; Aug. 6: Pitt vs. Atlantis All-Stars, 7 p.m.; Aug. 7: Ole Miss vs. Commonwealth Giants, 7 p.m.; Ohio State vs. Bahamas All-Stars, 9 p.m.; Aug. 8: Ohio State vs. Providence Storm, 7 p.m.; Aug. 10: Kentucky vs. Puerto Rico Reserve Team, 5 p.m.; Aug. 11: Kentucky vs. Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket, 1 p.m.; Aug. 12: Kentucky vs. Puerto Rico Reserve Team, 1 p.m.; Aug. 14: Kentucky vs. Dominican Republic National Team, 5 p.m.; Aug. 15: North Carolina vs. Providence Storm, 5 p.m.; Cincinnati vs. P.J. Stringers, 7 p.m; Aug. 15/16: Kentucky vs. Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket, 1 p.m.; Aug. 16: North Carolina vs. Bahamas All-Stars, 5 p.m.; Aug. 17: Kentucky vs. Dominican Republic National Team, noon.