SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Members of North Carolina Tar Heels practice for the Carrier Classic NCAA college basketball game aboard the USS Carl Vinson on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. North Carolina and Michigan State Spartans are scheduled to play the first Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck of the ship on November 11, 2011. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Put away your swim trunks and flippie floppies folks, because UConn has pulled out of the Carrier Classic and will be playing all of their basketball games next season on dry land. So there will be no flipping of burgers and the most we might aspire to is having Enosch Wolf at Kinkos straight flipping copies.
The Huskies are were originally rumored to play Arizona, apparently couldn't come to an agreement on an opponent with the organizers and will likely be replaced by Ohio St. and Marquette. It is very clear though that this was UConn's decision and no one else's.
I'm not going to say this isn't dissapointing -- it would have been fun to see the Huskies playing on an aircraft carrier if only to see if Shabazz Napier would be given the government clearance necessary to wander around on the ship -- but I am far less upset about this than I probably would have been if the Huskies pulled out last fall when the game was first announced.
First of all, the Carrier Classic got moved out of San Diego Bay and to South Carolina, which I'm sure is nice, but isn't exactly San Diego (it's not like I'd be going either, but Charelston just does not have the same ring to it, you know?). Second, after the Classic left San Diego, a different set of organizers decided to host their own game there (this one featuring Syracuse and San Diego State). I'm not saying last year's game between Michigan St. and UNC wasn't cool, but I'm not sure it is an event that needs to happen twice in a lifetime, let alone twice in the same season. The thing about novelties is that they wear off.
Still, the exposure and promise of an interesting opponent would have provided some juice to a seaon that will otherwise lack it, but it's also quite possible that UConn and it's inexperienced and Germany-heavy front court might have been run right off the boat with the setting providing hack sportswriters with enough cliches to fill a week's worth of columns that would have irritated me.