York men’s basketball Lions challenge NCAA teams

The York Lions men’s basketball team will play host to an opponent that competed in the NCAA Final Four in 2006 on the opening weekend of pre-season play in 2007-2008.

The Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers, who advanced to the NCAA semi-finals in 2006, will face the Lions at 3pm on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Tait McKenzie Centre. The LSU game concludes a two-game weekend against NCAA teams for the Lions, who also meet Kentucky’s visiting Morehead State University Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 8pm.

“It (facing American teams) is a real challenge,” Lions head coach Bob Bain said after his team’s schedule was released Monday. “It’s exciting and it’s a good recruiting tool. It’s a nice thing for our players to look forward to.”

This marks the fourth consecutive year in which the Lions will play two home pre-season games against American teams. LSU advanced to the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament last year after Tigers star Tyrus Thomas was selected fourth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Draft in 2006 before being traded to the Chicago Bulls. Morehead State qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament last year after a two-year absence.

After a pre-season schedule that includes tournaments at the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University in Halifax, the Lions open the regular season in London, Ont., against the Western Mustangs Friday, Nov. 9 and then travel to Windsor to face the defending OUA champion Lancers the next night.

The Lions play their home opener at 8pm on Friday, Nov. 16, against the Brock Badgers. Another highlight of the home schedule comes at 8pm on Friday, Jan. 18, when the five-time defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport champion Carleton Ravens make their only visit of the season to the Tait McKenzie Centre.

The Lions, who advanced to the Ontario University Athletics East semi-finals last season, are aiming to return to the CIS National Championship in Ottawa for the third time in the past five seasons.

For the Lions’ complete 2007-2008 schedule, visit www.sport.yorku.ca.