“I can’t think of a better way to start my senior season”
~MSU Center Draymond Green
Do you suppose that Tom Izzo uses lines like “I can’t offer you beaches and palm trees, but chances are you’ll be playing on aircraft carriers and on national television in March.”??
This Friday, November 11th at 7 PM on ESPN the Michigan State University Spartans men’s basketball team will face the North Carolina Tar Heels aboard the USS Carl Vinson (Wikipedia/Facebook) in what is being dubbed the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic. Friday is also Veterans Day, and former Lakers MSU great Magic Johnson and James Worthy of UNC, both former Lakers will be on hand as honorary captains. They’ll also have at least one VIP in the stands, President Barack Obama.
Home Post has a slideshow of the process of turning the deck of the USS Carl Vinson into a basketball court and ESPN has a pretty cool look at the science behind the challenges the players will face in an outside game on a ship. At the bottom of the post there’s a video with a look at the special uniforms the Spartans will be wearing that also provides a nice chance to meet a team that is largely unheralded and facing the pre-season #1 team in the nation. A great primer by David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press begins:
The night before Michigan State’s basketball season ended in March, athletic director Mark Hollis sat in a Tampa hotel, proudly disclosing plans for how this season would begin.
On his tablet, he swiped through artists’ renderings of how the USS Carl Vinson will look Friday night in San Diego Bay, with a temporary basketball arena on its flight deck, where the Spartans play top-ranked North Carolina in their Veterans Day opener, with President Barack Obama and thousands of military personnel dominating the invitation-only crowd.
Read on at the GR Press.
USS Carl Vinson PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is underway in the Pacific Ocean. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicolas C. Lopez/Released) 110603-N-GZ277-247
Michigan State vs. Hillsdale Freshman guard Branden Dawson stretches out for an uncontested dunk early in the game against Hillsdale Friday night at Breslin Center. Dawson netted 10 points for the Spartans in the 80-58 victory. Matt Hallowell/The State News