Confirming an earlier report, the defending CIS men's basketball champion Carleton Ravens will face a Big East team in September, the St. John's Red Storm.
The game is Sept. 6, the Sunday of Labour Day weekend, but at the Ravens' Nest rather than Scotiabank Place, which is booked for an Aerosmith concert that weekend. Presumably, St. John's will also play the Ottawa Gee-Gees while in the capital.
It's a downer not to have games at SBP, but ultimately a big arena rock band is a better seller than basketball in Ottawa, even if Aerosmith is a couple decades past its best-before date. (If you were ever in doubt about Ottawa's musical tastes, last week KISS drew a crowd of 30,000 and Green Day got 8,000. KISS wasn't even good when they were the same age as the members of Green Day.)
The Red Storm were 16-18 last season, but are considered a "veteran team" (New York Daily News). In terms of hoops celebrity, one of their main forwards is 6-foot-7 Anthony Mason Jr., son of the former New York Knicks player. Mason is coming off an ankle injury and St. John's coach Norm Roberts noted the Canada trip will give him a chance to get back to game speed, so hopefully he would play extended minutes.
Carleton has a history with the Big East. They hosted Villanova, which went to the Final Four last season, at the start of 2007-08. They also took Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals to overtime in September 2006 and if memory serves, both they and the Gee-Gees have travelled south to play Cincinnati.
Carleton's release also confirmed a game on Aug. 18 vs. the Towson Tigers, as also previously noted. The Tigers will play a Ravens alumni team on Aug. 17, face the Ottawa Gee-Gees that night and face the Ravens the following evening.
On the women's side, coach Taffe Charles' Ravens will host two D-1 teams, Fairleigh Dickinson and Vermont, on Aug. 27-28, both 8 p.m. tip-offs at the Ravens' Nest. The latter game should be a homecoming for Vermont senior guard Courtnay Pilypaitis, a St. Peter alumna who led the Catamounts to the America East conference title and the NCAA Tournament last season. Vermont is also playing a game in Waterloo, since that's the hometown of another of their starters, May Kotsopoulos.