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The Auburn Tigers are going international.
The team announced in a release on Monday that the team would be traveling to Israel from July 31 to Aug. 10 to play three preseason games. Auburn will play the Israeli U20 National Team in the first two games and then the senior national team in the final game on Aug. 8.
Here is what head coach Bruce Pearl had to say on what he calls an “educational experience”:
“These foreign trips have been one of the greatest teaching moments I have been a part of in 40 years of coaching college basketball. Israel has not been your typical destination for college basketball teams. Yet Israel is one of the top two to three countries in the world in its quality of competition and support for professional basketball.”
As Pearl said, Israel does have a strong basketball culture. The Israeli U20 National Team has done well in competition, medaling in the 2018 and 2019 FIBA U20 European Championships (silver and gold, respectively). The senior team has had a rougher go of things as of late in FIBA qualifiers and tournaments, but Israel has had NBA talent on its national teams in the past and should serve to be a formidable opponent for Auburn.
The preseason games should be a good challenge for the Tigers before they begin their season for real against collegiate teams.