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Florida v Georgetown Basketball Navy Ship Arrives Safely in Jacksonville

Joshua E. Walters-U.S. Navy

The USS Bataan, the Navy ship that will host the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas basketball teams for the Navy-Marine Corps Classic, arrived safely at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville.

The amphibious assault ship had been forced out to sea last week to escape the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. Some fans worried that the game might be postponed or moved to another location.

But according to News4Jax.com in Jacksonville, the ship was greeted by Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and crews got to work immediately to transform the ship’s deck into a basketball arena for the city’s “Week of Valor” which starts Nov. 5.  The “Week of Valor” includes a Thursday night game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

“The Navy is proud to be a part of the City of Jacksonville’s ‘Week of Valor,’” said Rear Admiral John Scorby. “This is just the latest example of our long-standing friendship that makes the Jacksonville area the most requested duty station in the Navy.”

More than 3,500 fans, many of whom are active duty sailors, are expected to watch the game. The Navy-Marine Corps Classic is one of three NCAA basketball games that will take place on the deck of a Navy ship on Veterans Day. Ohio State and Marquette face off in the Carrier Classic in Charleston S.C. and Syracuse and San Diego State square off in the Midway Classic in San Diego.

The Gators and Hoyas tip off at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.

Merlisa covers Georgetown and Big East basketball.  Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa