College Basketball: Setup for the Michigan State-North Carolina Carrier Classic
Coming to a naval vessel near you, 11.11.11.
In preparation for what is being dubbed "The Carrier Classic," the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson is being transformed from an active runway to a makeshift basketball arena.
From the port in San Diego where the carrier is docked to across the coast at Chapel Hill, eager college hoops fans everywhere are anxiously anticipating Friday's historic game.
As the event gets closer, all parties to the Carrier Classic have been tweeting, videotaping and snapping photographs of the ship's exciting transformation.
Take a look, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, MSU's basketball director and a pretty neat ESPN video.
Video Trailer from the US Navy
To further generate excitement for this big game, the U.S. Navy has uploaded this trailer with a brief description of what happens on your average aircraft carrier when a basketball game isn't being played on its deck.
Fortunately, the Spartans and Tar Heels won't have to dodge landing aircraft as they dish, drive and dunk on Friday.
Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Serve
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Detroit-based Quicken Loans will sponsor the inaugural Carrier Classic and Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken, had the right idea as he described the incredible opportunity that is playing on the USS Carl Vinson.
He said, "It's a great way to partner with ESPN and the U.S. Navy to hopefully put more recognition on Veterans Day and give our service members and veterans the thanks that they really deserve."
Quicken has pledged a donation of $111,000 to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, an organization which helps military families in times of hardship.
You can start by reading up on Carl Vinson, the man the featured carrier is named for. As the first living American to attend the dedication for a U.S. Navy ship named after him, Vinson was a Naval and Georgia legend.
He additionally served the people of Georgia as a US Representative from 1914 through 1965, achieving the status of dean during his last four years in office.
Right People for the Job: Construction Crews Are the Best of the Best
When it comes to finding the right people for the tasking job of putting together a basketball arena at sea, all parties involved got together to ensure they got it right.
Morale Entertainment Foundation volunteer Jim Preston spoke for his construction crew's credentials and ability.
He said, "We have the right people for the job—people who have helped coordinate past Olympics and Super Bowl halftime shows. The end result is going to be something to see."
In total, over 150 construction personnel will work to turn this flight deck into a customized basketball arena.
Baby Steps: Thousands of Pieces Must Be Assembled Step-by-Step
Just because this collegiate contest will be played aboard an aircraft carrier doesn't mean the NCAA hired the U.S. Navy to magically helicopter a pop-up court onto one of its vessels.
Instead, the temporary basketball court, bleachers, lights and scoreboards arrived in San Diego over the course of the past few weeks—in pieces, thousands of them.
As you can see by the contrast in size between the construction worker near the truck's cab and the light fixtures sitting in the truck's bed, the sheer size of this event is quite monumental.
Bleachers Are MSU Green: Home-Field Advantage?
When Kevin Pauga, Michigan State University's director of basketball operations, tweeted this photo of the bleachers under construction, he set the stage for what one could only describe as a remarkable view for a basketball game.
Though the game is at a neutral site and neither squad is technically the home team, you have to think the green seats give MSU the edge.
Uniforms: Camo Is in
Sport Science: Challenges of Playing at Sea
ESPN's John Brenkus graciously explained just how playing on an aircraft carrier works.
During a recent Sports Science feature, Brenkus broke down the challenges of holding a massive sporting event on a sea vessel, including issues of weight distribution and visibility during an outdoor's twilight.
And don't forget seasickness. Yikes.
Contingency Plan: Game Goes into Hangar Bay If It Rains
There's a good reason basketball is a winter sport. While it is snowing or raining in much of the country during the winter months, baseball fields are washed out while football fields become giant snowbanks.
Basketball, fortunately, survives indoors, in a climate-controlled and dry environment.
The Carrier Classic, however, is one of those rare start-of-season games that is scheduled to be played outside—in San Diego, in November.
With the forecast calling for a 60 percent chance of rain on Friday, there is a good chance the outdoor court will not be playable.
In the event of rain, the game will be moved to the USS Carl Vinson's indoor hangar bay, where a duplicate setup will be staged for just the occasion.
Obama and the Death of Osama: Spartan Draymond Green's Unique Take on Venue
When US President Barack Obama confirmed he will attend the Carrier Classic, it brought back memories of Osama bin Laden's death in May and how thousands of fans in Philadelphia spontaneously broke into patriotic chants of "USA, USA" during the evening's Mets-Phillies game.
When bin Laden was buried at sea after the fatal special forces raid, it was the USS Carl Vinson that buried the former No. 1 suspect on the FBI's Most Wanted list.
Spartans forward Draymond Green apparently was not aware that the same ship that buried bin Laden will now play host to the inaugural Carrier Classic.
Green would like to see the Navy commemorate the occasion.
Green said, "I hope there's a little red 'X' where they threw him off."
Added teammate Keith Appling, "That's crazy."
Carrier Classic Is on ESPN, 11-11-11, 7 PM ET
Veterans Day is back in the spotlight with the Carrier Classic, and so is ESPN.
The self-declared worldwide leader in sports will broadcast the Carrier Classic on Friday, November 11, 2011, at 7 p.m. ET.
Welcome to the 2011 basketball season, where the NBA is not required.