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June 6, 2013Follow @JohnVeldhuis
MADISON - The Wisconsin men's basketball team will take its first international trip since 2006 this summer when they travel to Canada for a series of exhibition games. The Wisconsin athletic department announced the Badgers will play five exhibition games during their eight-day trip in August, stopping in both Toronto and Ottawa.
The trip will give the Badgers extra practice time during the summer. The Badgers can practice10 extra times throughout the summer to prepare for their trip, in addition to the two hours of instructional time the team gets every week during the summer. All 17 players are scheduled to make the trip, including six incoming freshmen.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said in a statement the international trip should allow his team to be more prepared for the start of the 2013-14 season.
"We're really looking forward to this trip and the opportunities it presents for preparing us for next season," Ryan said. "Taking this trip allows us 10 practices and five games, which is a great luxury. One aspect that is different from our 2006 trip to Italy is that incoming freshmen are now permitted to practice and play. So for a team with as many new faces as we will have, this gives us a head start on the season."
Ryan said the Badgers will try out several different lineups during the trip, giving them time to sort out several playing time issues. They need to replace forwards Mike Bruesewitz, Jared Berggren, and Ryan Evans this season, and also need to sort out a large group of guards. Point guard Josh Gasser is recovering from a torn ACL, and is expected to compete for a starting spot again. Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson also return from last season, and the Badgers also expect George Marshall and Bronson Koenig to compete for playing time.
Wisconsin's slate includes a game with Canadian powerhouse Carleton University on Aug. 21. The Ravens have won nine of Canada's last 11 national titles, including each of the last three. The Badgers will also play the University of Ottawa during their trip, as well as the Canadian Junior National Team, Ryerson University, and A-Game Hoops, a national men's select team.
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