The Carrier Classic is one of college basketball's most exciting early-season events, and this year's double-header features the men's teams from Ohio State and Marquette and the women's teams from Ohio State and Notre Dame.
This is the first year that the Carrier Classic will be a double-header, after North Carolina defeated Michigan State in the inaugural game last season.
For those who are unaware, this game is played on the deck of an aircraft carrier from the United States navy. This year's game will be played on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C.
With four talented teams ready to open their season on Friday night, this should be the best Carrier Classic yet.
Let's look at a complete preview for the two games scheduled for the 2012 Carrier Classic.
When: Friday, November 9 at 4 p.m. ET (women's game) and 7 p.m. ET (men's game)
Where: USS Yorktown, Charleston, S.C.
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Betting Line: N/A
What's at Stake?
Marquette can earn a huge early-season, out-of-conference victory for its NCAA tournament resume in this game. The Golden Eagles have scheduled several quality non-Big East opponents in the first month of the season, including games against Florida and Wisconsin.
For the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes, this is a game they should win because they have more talent and depth than the Golden Eagles. If Ohio State wins this game, it will likely head into its November 28 showdown with Duke at 4-0.
The Ohio State women are the 19th-ranked team in the nation and don't play another team currently in the Top 25 until January, so this is an important game for them to make a statement to the rest of America.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 7 and has a tough early-season schedule that also includes a tough matchup against defending champion Baylor, who is also the top-ranked team in the nation. The Fighting Irish are a national title contender and would earn a lot of confidence with a victory over Ohio State.
Most Important Players to Watch
Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas is the most important player in the men's game. He is replacing Jared Sullinger, who is now in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, as the most talented frontcourt player on the Buckeyes roster. If he plays well at both ends of the floor, it's going to be difficult for Marquette to win.
Skylar Diggins is the best women's player in the nation and will attempt to lead the Fighting Irish to a national title after coming up just short in the past two seasons.
Not only can Diggins dominate a game with her scoring, she's also a talented playmaker and an underrated defender. She will have a major impact on the Carrier Classic.
Ohio State wins, 76-66
Notre Dame wins, 75-62
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