The Veterans Day showdown between North Carolina and Michigan State scheduled to take place on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson is the kind of unique event that gets people excited about college basketball.
It'll be entertainment for the troops, and it'll be televised from San Diego where the ship will be docked so that everyone else can see two proud programs go at it to kick off the season in style.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo is certainly happy to take part in the Carrier Classic, but there is also the fact that his team is going up against one of the preseason favorites to win it all. According to the Evansville Courier & Press, Izzo didn't exactly sound thrilled to be playing a loaded Tar Heels team in his seemingly lighthearted comment on the game while speaking at a benefit dinner for a Boys & Girls club.
"The only disappointment is we are playing North Carolina, and I thought all three of those big guys (Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and John Henson) would go pro last year and they all stayed. I've got problems. It's a long way to jump off that ship."
After a 19-win season that landed Michigan State in the NCAA tournament but disappointed many, Izzo would have liked to start by facing a less difficult opponent. The Tar Heels are stacked while the Spartans have question marks.
And playing a game on an aircraft carriers does present its logistical challenges if things don't go right. Two courts will be constructed so that in the event of poor weather conditions, the game can be played below deck. Also, there is also the possibility that the ship could be ordered to head to sea.
Ultimately, it should be a great showcase for the sport, featuring one of the top players in Barnes and a Tar Heels team that has been worthy of hype this offseason. Izzo's team better be ready.