SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 11: John Henson #31 of the North Carolina Tar Heels makes a move to the basket against Draymond Green #10 of the Michigan State Spartans in the first half during the NCAA men's college basketball Carrier Classic aboard the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
For the past few seasons, I've thought that college basketball has needed an actual "Opening Day," particularly since the start of the season gets swamped by the college football and NFL campaigns, which are in full swing in early November. Back in 2010, I proposed that the second Friday in November should be treated as the official opening date for the season, with all of the razzamatazz such a move would require.
More after the jump...
Two years later, that idea is about to become reality in an admittedly roundabout, but still very cool, and, yes, respectful way. (Looking back, it's a happy coincidence that I wrote that post linked above on Veterans' Day 2010.) That's because there are now four significant games now scheduled for the Friday before Veterans' Day, 2012, as the Connecticut Huskies will play the Michigan State Spartans at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. That on-base matchup joins a trio of blockbuster games slated for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers on that particular day -- Marquette vs. Ohio State in Charleston, S.C.; Florida vs. Georgetown in Jacksonville; and Syracuse vs. San Diego State in San Diego. TV coverage and tip times for the three Stateside contests are still to be announced, but ESPN's Andy Katz reports that the European game will start after 10 p.m. Central European Time, which translates to 4 p.m. ET on this side of the Atlantic. That would be the start of what could be a tremendous quadruple-header.
Such a lineup would certainly announce college basketball's re-emergence on the sports calendar in the most emphatic terms possible, while also providing an appetizer to a busy football weekend. More importantly, however, these games will also focus the nation's attention toward celebrating veterans and active duty military personnel around the world, thanking them for their service and innumerable sacrifices, while also providing them a needed and worthy evening of distraction.
As always, I've updated the 2012 Early Season Tournaments and Events page with this information along with several other nuggets, many courtesy of CBSSports.com's wonderful series of conference rundowns. (H/T: Patrick Marshall)