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A Journey Into Paradise

2013 Cancun Challenge Brings US College Basketball to Mexico

25 November, 2013

As if you needed one more reason to think about heading south to Mexico as winter comes to call,Cancun is hosting the annual Cancun Challenge college basketball tournament this week during Thanksgiving break. CBS Sports Network will televise this year’s games from Nov. 26-27,and a variety of men’s and women’s teams will compete to earn championship titles.

2013 marks the tournament’s sixth year in Cancun for men’s teams and its ninth year for women’s teams. The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,which opened in late 2012,will host this year’s games,which remain the only Division 1 men’s basketball competition to be held in Mexico. The Riviera Maya region lies along Mexico’s only Caribbean coast on the eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula and provides a magical backdrop for the teams and their families,many of whom opt to make a vacation out of the trip and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday in paradise.

This year,men’s teams include Old Dominion,St. Louis,West Virginia,Wisconsin,Bowling Green,Georgia Southern,Oral Roberts and Presbyterian. The men’s teams are split into two divisions and will battle it out for the championship titles. Women’s teams include Arizona State,Arkansas State,Boston College,Illinois,Iowa,North Carolina,UNC Wilmington and USC.

Regarded as one of the most exceptional preseason tournaments in US college basketball,previous men’s champions at the Cancun Challenge include Vanderbilt in 2008,Kentucky in 2009,Missouri in 2010,Illinois in 2011 and Wichita State in 2012. Since its inception in 2005,the women’s Cancun Challenge has hosted a total of 66 games,including 45 teams from 21 conferences. Top women’s programs to play in the tournament have included Oklahoma in 2007,Duke in 2009,Penn State in 2010 and Purdue in 2011.

Fans and players staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya will enjoy access to unlimited food and drink in the arena during the games,in addition to the various amenities that are regularly offered by the resort’s all-inclusive packages. The games will be held in a new arena and conference center that is located on the resort property. For more information about the tournament,visit www.cancunchallenge.net

Have you ever traveled to another country for a sporting event? If so,share your experiences with other readers in the comments section below!

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