Gonzaga, Michigan State to play on the USS Abraham Lincoln on November 11

SAN DIEGO – They’ll try out college basketball aboard an aircraft carrier again, and marine veteran Tom Izzo and Michigan State will take a trip back to San Diego Bay to face Gonzaga on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln on Veterans Day.

The game will be shown in prime time on November 11 as part of ESPN’s Armed Forces Classic from the elevated airfield moored at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, across the bay from downtown. San Diego Street. The Abraham Lincoln is being deployed and will return to port later this summer.

1 North Carolina 67-55 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011, in the first college basketball game aboard an active aircraft carrier. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama watch from the side of the road. The Carl Vinson carried out the sea burial of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by Navy SEALs in a raid ordered by Obama six months earlier.

This would be the first carrier game since 2012, when only two of the four games were scheduled to take place that fall, including one in San Diego that had to be postponed by two days because it rains instead of moving it indoors.

Although the 2011 Carrier Classic was set in a spectacular setting, it ended less than an hour before rain drenched the pitch, just one of the dangers the organizers faced in staging aircraft carrier jumping games. Organizers said there would be a backup court on the hangar deck for backup, but that court was never set up.

Izzo welcomes the opportunity to play in another service provider game.

“The experience we had in 2011 playing the North Carolina game on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was one of the most humbling experiences of my career,” Izzo said in a statement. “Obviously, we want to win and any match with such a program is very special, but for me the game is more than just win or lose.”

“This opportunity to play on an aircraft carrier in front of men and women who serve in the military and are willing to give their lives is an experience that will be meaningful to the young men who will be playing in the game. this. long, long time,” added Izzo. “I said last time and I will say it again, we will play against one of the strongest teams in the country and we will be hosted by the number one team in the world.”

Gonzaga’s coach Mark Few echoed Izzo’s thoughts.

“This is a special opportunity for our program to support those who fight for our country in our small way,” the Zags coach said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be facing an incredible show at Michigan State and a great colleague in Coach Izzo. I’m sure this will be a great memory for all of us.”

The carrier craze disappeared after 2012, when Mother Nature built some serious defenses, at least on the East Coast.

In a scheduled double-head carrier Carrier Classic aboard the decommissioned USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina, on November 9, 2012, Notre Dame defeated Ohio State in a catch-all women’s game. early afternoon. But a men’s game between Ohio State and Marquette scheduled for the evening never started because of the dense conditions on the field.

That same night, a game against Georgetown and Florida aboard the USS Bataan in service in Gainesville, Florida, was postponed after half-time because it was too dense.

In San Diego, a game between Syracuse and San Diego State scheduled for the evening of November 9 on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum on the San Diego Bay side was postponed by two days because of rain. When it was played in bright sunshine on the afternoon of November 11, a strong wind blowing across the bay contributed to the Aztecs making just 1 of 18 3-pointers in a 62-49 loss to Orange. higher and its defensive team. .

Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events, said all parties will consider contingencies in case bad weather or world events could bring the carrier out of service.

He said going back to the carrier game “was just a self-representing choice. There were no big plans with it. It was something that was up for discussion and we looked into it and More importantly, we found teams that wanted to be part of that experience and very well understood the logistical challenges that could be faced.”

“There’s always been a conspiracy from the coaches and organizations involved to give thanks back to the men and women in the military,” Overby added. “The number of teams that have lined up to compete in these events, whether they’re overseas or even domestically, has, to our minds, been very positively received by the interscholastic basketball community. Because So we’re very excited about that.”

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