We touched on this yesterday in the links post, but if you haven't heard: Michigan State is going to play North Carolina on an aircraft carrier on Veteran's Day. Since this is such an odd and intriguing idea, it might be interesting to take a closer look at this game.
The game will take place in San Diego Harbor on November 11 at 4:00 pm local time. It will be televised on ESPN. The event is being called the Carrier Classic 11-11-11, and Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are expected to be on-hand as honorary captains. There will be seating for approximately 7000 fans, most of which is reserved for military personnel.
The Carrier Classic is a twist of what has become a recent trend of sporting events taking place in odd places. The NHL Winter Classic, which has taken place in both football and baseball stadiums, has been a success since its inaugural game in 2008. There has also been a recent trend in which college football games have been played at outdoor Major League Baseball venues.
The Phoenix Suns have played an outdoor preseason game in Indian Wells, California for the past three years. Indian Wells is about 120 miles northeast of San Diego. If you're looking for an idea about how the weather might affect this game, the Suns games can give us some insight.
First of all, the NBA preseason outdoor games were all played in October. As most everyone is aware, it is warmer in October than it is in November. Even with that, the 2008 game between the Suns and the Nuggets was a brick-fest. The temperature was around 64 degrees and the 15 mile-per-hour winds helped contribute to a combined 3-27 performance from behind the arc. The weather was much better and the shooting performances were closer to normal for the last two outdoor NBA games.
The weather might affect the shooting, but there have complaints that playing many of the NCAA tournament games in indoor football stadiums has hurt shooting. The sight lines on the aircraft carrier might even be better than those in the football stadiums. The stands behind the baskets should be closer on the warship than in the domes, which should help the players.
If playing basketball on an aircraft carrier is not reason enough for you to tune in, there is also a chance that the venue could have played a role in the recent burial of Osama bin Laden. According to the promoter of the event, the carrier that the game will be played on will either be the USS Ronald Reagan or the USS Carl Vinson. Bin Laden was buried at sea on the USS Carl Vinson on May 2.
Sometimes hyped up games are not fun to watch. The games end in blowouts, or both teams play poorly. Even if that is the case for the Carrier Classic, it will be worth seeing. The atmosphere of playing high-level college basketball on Veteran's Day on an aircraft carrier will make up for any deficiencies of the game itself.