What's going on all of a sudden with college basketball in China?
First, we had Duke broadcasting a basketball game over the Internet in Mandarin using native speakers from its student body.
Next, Duke says "the heck with just a radio broadcast" and lines up an actual trip to China. The trip will be in August, and the Blue Devils will play three exhibition games and conduct some hoops clinics there before hitting Dubai - why not? - on the way back to play a fourth game.
This isn't coincidence. One of the China games will be in Kunshan, where Duke in 2012 will open a campus.
Not to be outdone, Carolina and N.C. State are jumping on the China bandwagon as well. The Feb. 23 game between these longtime foes will be televised in Shanghai, China, to an audience of up to 16 million people.
It will be the first regular season college basketball game televised in China.
Again, not a random decision. American universities clearly see China as a growth market. In North Carolina and beyond, a lot of universities public and private are forging partnerships with Chinese universities and setting up their own campuses there.