Duelling men’s basketball powerhouses will hit the court at the Canadian Tire Centre tonight, as the Carleton Ravens host the Syracuse Orange in an exhibition game.
The nearby Syracuse team made it to the NCAA Final Four last season and is the fifth-winningest men’s basketball team in America, with one of the biggest fan bases as well.
Carleton’s Guillaume Boucard said Friday the nine-time national champions can compete with the Orange.
"It's pretty exciting, we've had a lot of talk all summer about it," said the third-year player.
"Today's a big day to show what we can do against a big university in the States."
"It's a great opportunity, they've consistently been one of the top five to ten programs in the United States for as long as I've been following basketball," said Ravens coach Rob Smart.
The Ravens have won the last three national championships and a record nine in total under head coach Dave Smart, who is away helping Canada’s national team.
Both teams unbeaten against international squads
Carleton’s men have beaten three National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) teams this summer, including the Wisconsin Badgers – a high seed in the annual March Madness tournament in recent years.
Syracuse are in the midst of a Canadian tour, as NCAA rules allow a trip abroad every four years.
The Orange have never had a losing season under long-time coach Jim Boeheim, who’s been leading them since 1976.
Smart said the team is more focused on development than the final score.
"It's August - we don't get together to win games in August, we get together to win games in March," he said.
"It will be nice if it's close and we're in a tough game but it's more about the way that we play... I think they'd say the same thing too."
Ontario native a top recruit for Syracuse
Syracuse’s most well-known alumni is Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, although Canadian fans may recognize the name of Leo Rautins for his analyst work and playing career.
Brampton, Ont. native Tyler Ennis is expected to be a key player in his rookie season as he takes over from Michael Carter-Williams, who was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers in June.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Canadian Tire Centre.
The Orange will then face the University of Ottawa on Saturday night at Montpetit Hall. They’ve already beaten McGill and Bishops.