Countdown to the Carrier Classic: This Is Actually HappeningPosted by KCarpenter on November 11th, 2011
Somehow, this is how the college basketball season begins in earnest: North Carolina plays against Michigan State on an aircraft carrier in front of the President of the United States. As much as I’ve read about this, the whole thing still seems pretty surreal. Yet here we are, one day out, and as near as anyone can tell, this is actually happening. Earlier fears of bad weather have subsided, as the storm that was headed for San Diego has stalled, meaning that the game won’t have to relocate inside the hangar bay. It will actually take place on the carrier deck. USA Today published a nice visual schematic of what the court will look like and offered a sense of the scale of this endeavor. Meanwhile, ESPN Sports Science provided a breakdown of how the players might deal with some of the complications of the game — namely seasickness and the vision problems associated with playing outside in changing light, while Eamonn Brennan offers a slightly less scientific take on the challenges. The US Navy itself had the most impressive feature, though, when they posted a YouTube video time lapse of the construction of the court. The effort took several days of work and the end result is quite impressive.
Both teams landed in San Diego on Wednesday and were treated to a tour of the facility and the nearly-finished basketball court. The North Carolina team didn’t even bother to even hide their amazement during the tour. Kendall Marshall and John Henson openly gawked at the court, while Harrison Barnes seemed fixated on recording the entirety of the tour on his phone. Marshall took a few pictures on his phone and Tweeted them to the world. Without even getting into the specifics of the game, I think it’s safe to say that we are in for a truly unique treat tomorrow evening. For more pictures from a Tar Heel-centric perspective, the UNC Athletic department has posted a few galleries of the players touring the ship.