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Gonzaga vs. Michigan State Set for Nov. 11 on USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 14, 2022

Set Number: X86610 TK1 R2 F71

The Gonzaga and Michigan State men's basketball teams will face off on the USS Abraham Lincoln in Coronado, California, on Nov. 11 as part of ESPN's Armed Forces Classic, according to the Associated Press.

It will be the first game on an aircraft carrier since 2012.

Michigan State played on the USS Carl Vinson in the 2011 Carrier Classic, losing 67-55 against North Carolina. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo called it "one of the most humbling experiences of my career."

"Obviously, we wanted to win and any game against a program like that is very special, but to me, the game was about so much more than just a win or a loss," he added in a statement.

"This opportunity to play on an aircraft carrier in front of men and women who serve in the military and are willing to put their lives on the line is an experience that is going to mean something to the young men who will play in the game for a long, long time. I said it last time and I'll say it again, we're going to play one of the best teams in the country and we're going to be hosted by the No. 1 team in the world."

The matchup with Gonzaga will be part of a tough stretch for the Spartans:

Jon Rothstein @JonRothstein

Michigan State's November Slate:<br><br>Gonzaga (SD)<br>Kentucky (Champions Classic)<br>Villanova (Gavitt Games)<br>PK85 (UNC, Portland, UConn, Nova, Bama, Oregon, Iowa St)<br>At ND (ACC/Big Ten)<br><br>"My advice to you is to start drinking heavily." - John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House, circa 1978 <a href="https://t.co/BjpLTh9c8S">https://t.co/BjpLTh9c8S</a>

Bulldogs head coach Mark Few shared a similar sentiment to Izzo's about playing on the USS Abraham Lincoln on Veterans Day.

"This is a special opportunity for our program to support those who fight for our country in our own small way," he said in a statement. "We're excited to face an incredible program in Michigan State and a great colleague in Coach Izzo. I'm sure this will be a great memory for all of us."

In 2012, a number of games scheduled for aircraft carriers were affected by rain, wind or condensation on the court, causing delays or cancellations and impacting the quality of play. That could be an issue a decade later, though vice president of ESPN Events Clint Overby said plans would be in place in the event Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.

Bad weather or not, it promises to be a unique event.

"Those who serve, and who have served, know that the military is the ultimate team sport," Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, a commander in the Naval Air Forces, told Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I can think of no better way to salute our men and women in uniform than to celebrate this all-American pastime together on one of our nation's capital warships."

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