Foreign trips for college basketball teams are really fun. They provide the players a different experience and exposure to cultures around the world. They also allow the team to begin coming together long before the season begins.
When we see scores start to roll in, like Thursday's 75-52 win over Albacete Basket, we often don't know a thing about the teams playing host to the touring American school.
After scouring the internet, here's what I've learned about the teams BYU is playing over 10 days in Spain.
First, it seems Nebraska and BYU are playing the exact same set of teams, and the Huskers are playing each game a few days before BYU. So it's interesting to compare the results.
BYU 95, Eurocolegio Casvi 74
The initial game of BYU's tour took place Wednesday, seeing the Cougars dispatch of Eurocolegio Casvi.
Eurocolegio Casvi competes in Spain's Liga EBA, the fourth-tier league in the country. Casvi's 2014-15 season began in Oct. 2014 and concluded in May 2015. The team's record was 10-16 and it averaged 46.3 2PT / 30.1 3PT / 68.0 FT shooting percentages, according to eurobasket.com.
Based on that examination, perhaps we could consider Eurocolegio Casvi something like an okay team in a one-bid Division-I conference -- making BYU's result against the team quite appropriate.
(That's under the crude U.S. correlations of NBA=1st tier, D-League=2nd tier, Power/multi-bid D-I conferences=3rd tier, One-bid D-I conferences=4th tier, Division-II=5th tier.)
Nebraska defeated this team 79-64 after being tied 35-35 at halftime.
BYU 75, Albacete Basket 52
BYU and Albacete were tied 34-34 at one point, but the Cougars rolled off a 41-18 run to close out the win on Thursday.
I found information that Albacete Basket competes in the fifth-tier league Primera Division, the lowest professional league in Spain, but it appears the club may have been promoted to the fourth-tier Liga EBA according to its Twitter bio. That's most of the information I could find on the team.
Nebraska needed a late 9-0 run to defeat Albacete Basket 66-63. According to that Nebraska piece, Albacete Basket finished second in its most recent season, but I couldn't find much info to corroborate that or anything else about the team.
Europe Basketball Academy
As its name suggests, this is not a professional team but an academy for players looking to refine their game and get noticed, kind of like AAU ball for big kids. According to the academy's site, it runs a "Pro Placement Program," a "Euro Prep Program," and a "NCAA Prep Program." The site lists a game scheduled against BYU, but neither their site or BYU's indicates what kind of team will be hosting the Cougars for the game.
I'd guess the game would be against players in the Pro Placement Program, but again, there is little information on the team that BYU will face in Barcelona on Aug. 24.
Castelldefels is also a Liga EBA team, the fourth-tier league. This team went 7-19 in its most recent season according to eurobasket.com. Castelldefels shot 52.0 2PT / 29.1 3PT / 60.0 FT percentages in the 2014-15 season.
So is BYU facing super stiff competition in Spain? No. In fact, it's probably fair to say the pro teams are a little below-average, with Europe Basketball Academy being a wild card. They are professional teams, however.
What BYU is doing is getting a head start on playing an exhibition-level team and a few other games similar to its non-conference schedule (think Mississippi Valley State) so when the 2015-16 season hits, Dave Rose and his players will have a few less questions to answer and can hit the ground running.