North Carolina will play the most unique basketball season opener in school history on Friday, taking to a court that will be on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. The game against Michigan State on the USS Carl Vinson will be the first of its kind, and it will give coach Roy Williams a good look at his team, which is ranked first in both national polls. For Williams and his players, the game will mean more than the start of their pursuit of the NCAA tournament championship, with Friday being Veteran's Day and most of the controlled game crowd being military personnel.
Tar Heels excited about Friday's unique opener
The Winston-Salem Journal
Of all the ties North Carolina's players have to the military, only one has actually been to the military base where Friday's game will be played - technically speaking, anyway.
This Veterans Day, the real stars will be in the audience
The Charlotte Observer
Harrison Barnes is considered the best player on the top-ranked team in the nation. This time he's ready for all the expectations that come with those accolades.
The confident North Carolina sophomore talks like a wily veteran — far more at ease than when big expectations dogged him before he had even played a game for the Tar Heels.
Motivated Harrison Barnes ready to lead top-ranked Tar Heels after up-and-down freshman year
The Associated Press
In the 1986 award-winning film Hoosiers, Gene Hackman's character was hired to coach a high school basketball team in small-town Indiana in 1951.
Norman Dale, whom Hackman played, had been in the Navy for the previous decade, prompting one of the locals to make the comment, "I don't have a hair of a notion why we hired someone who's been in the water for the last 10 years," obviously unimpressed with the selection of Dale.
Dale would appreciate that basketball is finally headed to sea Friday when top-ranked North Carolina takes on perennial power Michigan State in the Carrier Classic atop the deck of the USS Carl Vinson docked in San Diego.
Tar Heels ready for anything in Carrier Classic
Fox Sports Carolinas
Entering Friday night's Carrier Classic on the USS Carl Vinson, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo says he has tried to relate to his players how "ridiculous" it is that the military isn't appreciated more.
Izzo said he hoped the game could "bring light to the people that probably deserve something they aren't getting."
Tom Izzo wants Spartans to appreciate military
The Detroit Free Press
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo joked that football coach Mark Dantonio told him to defer and take the wind.
The Spartans will play top-ranked North Carolina on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego on Friday night in the Carrier Classic.
There's a chance of rain, but Izzo isn't concerned. The Spartans will have two opportunities to play on the court before the game, a 45-minute practice and a 1-hour shoot-around.
Tom Izzo not worried about wind, rain for Carrier Classic
The Detroit Free Press