They’re going to try to play college basketball on an aircraft carrier again, and nautical veteran Tom Izzo and Michigan State will get a return trip to San Diego Bay to face Gonzaga on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln on Veteran’s Day.
The game will be shown in prime time on Nov. 11 as part of ESPN’s Armed Forces Classic from the flat top moored at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, across the bay from downtown San Diego. The Abraham Lincoln is on deployment and is due back in port later this summer.
Izzo’s Spartans lost to No. 1 North Carolina 67-55 on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Nov. 11, 2011, in the first college basketball game on an active carrier. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama watched from courtside. The Carl Vinson conducted Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea after he was killed by Navy SEALs in a raid ordered by Obama six months earlier.
This will be the first aircraft carrier game since 2012, when only two of four games scheduled that fall were played, including one in San Diego that had to be pushed back two days because of rain rather than moving it indoors.
While the 2011 Carrier Classic was played in a spectacular setting, it ended less than an hour before rain drenched the court, just one of the hazards organizers face in staging carrier hoops games. Organizers said there would be a backup court on the hangar deck as a contingency, but that court was never set up.