North Carolina, Michigan State Prepare for First Annual Carrier Classic

By Paul Seaver
By Greg Lewis (TheArenaPulse)
With the unofficial start to the 2011-12 college basketball season set to tip off this Veterans Day evening, an intriguing high-profile match-up will be on tap in the most unique of settings. 

For the first time ever, a college basketball game will take place aboard an aircraft carrier.

This Tar Heel squad returns superstars Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson, while adding highly-touted freshman James McAdoo to their explosive rotation. Point guard Kendall Marshall will look to continue his success while leading the squad in the back court.

With many of their big names coming back, their goal this season will be to start strong and end with cutting down the nets in New Orleans. While entering the year No. 1 in virtually every poll, this UNC squad has a similar feel to their 2009 team that won it all and featured superstars Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Wayne Ellington. 

On the other side of the ball, Tom Izzo’s Spartans will come into this game highly motivated, looking to make a big statement at such an early point of the season. 

After a disappointing campaign last year, MSU returns the versatile Draymond Green, while sophomore guard Keith Appling takes over in the back court.

Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood highlights a group of notable newcomers. Freshman Branden Dawson will also look to get involved in the offense as he begins his career in the most unusual of venues. 

If the game and its setting are not enough for the players to deal with, let’s throw in a visit from President Barack Obama, as he will address each locker room prior to tip-off.  

A match-up of perennial heavyweights in their first games of the year, is a pleasant surprise as most coaches try to secure easy victories at this point in the season. 

Docked in the San Diego Bay, all eyes will be focused on the U.S.S Carl Vinson (7:00pm EST, ESPN) this evening, for an outdoor classic that will sure to be remembered come season’s end.

Now let’s just hope it doesn’t rain.

*Photo: Carrier Classic *Credit:

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For college basketball news and updates follow The Arena Pulse on Twitter (@TheArenaPulse)The U.S.S Carl Vinson, which is known to many as the most prestigious of its kind in the world, will host the first annual Carrier Classic. The event features the No. 1 ranked team in the land in UNC, taking on a formidable opponent in Michigan State. 

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