We interrupt your early summer barbeques and plans to visit the beach with a bit of basketball related news.
Typically, Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball program use the first game of the year to ease their way into a new season. The last four openers read like a mediocre high school basketball slate – Wright State, North Carolina A&T, Alcorn State, and Delaware State.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with starting off with an easy win. Youngstown State, Akron, and the rest of the local Ohio bunch can attest to the Buckeye football program’s adherence to this practice.
But Matta (and perhaps the basketball promotions department) has an interesting challenge for this upcoming season. How exactly are the local hoopsters supposed to draw the attention of Buckeye Nation away from Urban Meyer’s first year as head coach for 40 minutes? In mid-November nonetheless?
Perhaps playing a perennial Big East contender aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in Charleston, South Carolina will do the trick. According to multiple sources, including the Columbus Dispatch, a deal is all but done to match the Buckeyes up against Marquette on the deck of the USS Yorktown in the Carrier Classic November 9.
The women’s squad is scheduled to play on the aircraft carrier versus Notre Dame on the same night.
ESPN is even on board (pun terribly intended), with plans to televise both games.
The Carrier Classic began last season when North Carolina defeated Michigan State aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. Although North Carolina won in somewhat convincing fashion (no worries, the Big Ten got its revenge in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge for the third straight year), the event did what college basketball has not always successfully done in the recent past. It briefly diverted the November attention of a football starved American sports fan base to the hardwood.
There’s no reason that a solid Big East squad in Marquette (with well-above solid uniforms) and a Buckeye team coming off of a Final Four run cannot do the same this year.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain.