Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) men's basketball team got an early start in more ways than one on Tuesday morning, with the team's first practice of the year coming at 6:00 a.m. and about a month earlier than usually scheduled.
The Bulldogs are off to an early start because 12 returning players and the coaching staff are making a preseason visit to Canada later this month, so the team gets 10 days of workouts prior to that trip.
The team will play a couple exhibition games while in Canada, but it's the opportunity to practice for 10 days well before the season that they think could translate into regular season results.
"It's just shaking the cobwebs off," senior forward Brett Ervin said. "It's always a little rusty after the last year. Instead of starting in September, we're doing it now which gives us an advantage over other teams."
Head coach Matt Bowen is excited about the trip as well, mainly because he gets the guys for 10 days in mid-August with nothing to do but play basketball.
"We're practicing to get better, as we always do, but this time with the games being preseason exhibition games," Bowen said. "We're not as worried about winning and losing as we are just getting better."
Following the Canada trip, UMD has exhibition games scheduled against NCAA Division I schools Notre Dame and Minnesota before opening the regular season Nov. 14 against Lincoln.