Tip off is 7 p.m.
The Owls struggled to a 5-26 record last year, winning just one game within their own conference. Rice plays in Conference USA, a collection of 15 southern and midwestern schools.
The Owls roster has international flavour and includes Nizar Kapic (Austria), Sean Obi (Nigeria) and Ross Wilson (England).
The team is coached by Ben Braun, one of the winningest active coaches in NCAA division one basketball.
Braun head coaching resume includes 12 years at the University of California and 11 years at the University of Eastern Michigan.
He is heading into his sixth year at Rice.
Adam Friesen is heading into his second year as the UFV bench boss, having led his team to the Canada West Final Four last year.
His Cascades went 12-10, and have six familiar faces returning.
Toronto native Kevon Parchment is back after averaging 16.9 points per game last year. Mission’s Luke Morris and Surrey’s Manny Dulay are back after strong rookie campaigns.
Big man Jasper Moedt enters his fifth CIS campaign. The center averaged 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 2011-12 as the Cascades advanced to the CIS Final 8 Championship tournament in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“Jasper gives us that veteran presence under the basket we lose with the graduation of Kyle Grewal (Surrey),” Friesen said.
Amrit Gill is a notable newcomer. The six-foot-eight forward from Port Hardy, BC is joined by Kadeem Willis, a Toronto native transferring in from Lakeland College.
“While we lost three veterans to graduation,” Friesen said. “We seem to have attracted the right mix of student-athletes to contend for the Pacific Division title.”