As an early pre­season test, the North­eastern men’s bas­ket­ball team kicks off a week­long Cana­dian tour on Friday to face sev­eral Cana­dian uni­ver­sity squads in five cities. Such trips, said head coach Bill Coen, offer a unique oppor­tu­nity for players to spend more time together and become a tighter-​​knit group.

They can con­tribute greatly to team chem­istry and the overall bonding of the unit,” Coen explained.

The men’s team is poised to make a serious run in the Colo­nial Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion this season, with a roster fea­turing four ver­sa­tile freshmen and the return of the injured Bul­garian big man. The top-​​four scoring leaders from last season will anchor the squad: the back­court duo of Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith, and second-​​year stars Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer. Last season, Ford earned a spot on the CAA All-​​Rookie team and the 2012 Col​legeIn​sider​.com Mid-​​Major Freshmen All-​​America team.

Our four returning starters will give us some sta­bility,” Coen said, “but really the deter­mining factor in our suc­cess will be how quickly our freshman class can develop and contribute.”

The new­comers include Ohio native David Walker, Zach Stahl of Min­nesota, and Der­rico Peck and Kwesi Abakah, both of whom hail from Georgia.

The Huskies’ front­court should improve, owing to the return of 6-​​foot-​​11-​​inch center Dinko Mar­shavelski, who missed last season with an ACL injury.  Mar­shavelski, Coen said, has “worked extremely hard to rehab his knee and get into a posi­tion to con­tribute this year.”

North­eastern will kick off the reg­ular season at home on Nov. 9 in a highly antic­i­pated show­down with crosstown rival Boston Uni­ver­sity. The Huskies defeated the Ter­riers last year in a season-​​opening over­time thriller.

Having that game as the opener the last few years has pro­vided a lot of excite­ment on both cam­puses because it’s such a nat­ural rivalry,” Coen said.

The remainder of the non­con­fer­ence slate includes matchups against UMass, LaSalle, Princeton and Ver­mont. The Huskies will also par­tic­i­pate in the Great Alaska Shootout — one of the nation’s oldest col­lege hoops tour­na­ments — over Thanks­giving break.

GoNU​.com will fea­ture com­plete cov­erage of each game during the Huskies’ Cana­dian tour, and fans can get live in-​​game updates on Twitter by fol­lowing @GoNUmbasketball.