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Men's Basketball to Open 2017-18 Season in China

Nov. 11, 2016

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech has been invited to play UCLA in the 2017 Pac-12 China Game presented by the Alibaba Group, the Pac-12 Conference announced Friday. Longtime Pac-12 partner Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC), which operates under China’s Ministry of Education, will serve as the co-host for the game.

The announcement came in the lead-up to the 2016 Pac-12 China Game, in which Stanford will take on Harvard this Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. That game will be televised live in the United States on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PT/ 11 p.m. ET on Friday.

The 2017 Pac-12 China Game between UCLA and Georgia Tech will tip off the 2017-18 basketball season with specific U.S. and China broadcast information to be finalized at a later date. The game is part of Pac-12 Global, an unprecedented effort to promote goodwill for the Conference and its member institutions through sport, and to provide student-athletes with a transformative cultural exchange experience.

“We’re thrilled and excited to be invited to participate in this event to tip off our 2017-18 season,” said Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner. “This is an incredible opportunity for our players and coaches to experience something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives from a cultural and educational standpoint. We’re also proud to represent the Institute and its excellent reputation in academics and athletics on this stage.”

The UCLA game in China will be the second time in program history that Georgia Tech will travel to East Asia for a regular-season men’s basketball game. The Yellow Jackets played Boston College and SMU in the 1986 Suntory Ball event in Tokyo, Japan, winning both games.

Other regular-season trips outside the 50 states for Tech in its basketball history include the 1997 Puerto Rico Shootout (Bayamon, P.R.), the 2007 Paradise Jam (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) and the 2010 Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan, P.R.). Tech also played four regular-season games in Cuba during the 1925-26 season.

Tech and UCLA will be meeting for the fifth time. The Bruins have won three of the previous four contests, most recently in the championship game of the 2006 Maui Invitational.

“We are thrilled to announce UCLA and Georgia Tech for next year’s game,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Once again, this game will feature two of the best universities in the world on an international stage. We look forward to showcasing the academic and athletic excellence of these two schools, and we anticipate a great reception from Chinese and global audiences.”

Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company will serve as the presenting sponsor after signing a two-year extension earlier this week. In addition to its sponsorship, Alibaba will distribute the game live via their mobile and digital distribution platforms and AliSports Group will support the game in the areas of sponsorship, ticketing, advertising and marketing.

The FUSC is China’s national solely authorized organization for university sports and operates under the Ministry of Education. Since 2011, the Pac-12 and FUSC have worked together to put on exhibition games featuring Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as coaching clinics and educational symposiums on collegiate sports.

In addition to the game, the 2017 Pac-12 China Game will feature educational and cultural experiences for student-athletes and university delegations to ensure they make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Both UCLA and Georgia Tech see this experience as much more than just a basketball game.

“This game has become an incredible opportunity for student-athletes to participate in true cultural exchange through college sports,” said Scott. “Their experiences both on and off the court will not only be valuable to their future success, but will also help Chinese fans and future student-athletes around the world see that high-level academics and high-level athletics can and should go hand in hand.”

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.

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