For the first time in a decade, the deck of an aircraft carrier will be the site for an NCAA Division I men's college basketball game as No. 2 Gonzaga faces Michigan State on Friday in what is considered the marquee game of the opening week of the 2022-23 season. Docked off the coast of San Diego, the USS Abraham Lincoln will play host to the Veterans Day showdown between two of the sport's premier programs, which is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
While the spectacle of a basketball game being played outdoors on the deck of a 1,092-foot long Naval vessel is something to behold, the game still counts. Come time for NCAA Tournament seeding, the loser of this game won't get a pass for the result because the wind blew some of their outside shots off-course on Nov. 11.
The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures around 60 degrees for the matchup, which is the first between the Bulldogs and Spartans since the 2011-12 season. Michigan State leads the all-time series 3-1, but the Bulldogs are beginning this season with significantly higher expectations than the Spartans, who were unranked in the preseason AP poll for just the fourth time in the past 26 seasons.
Follow LIVE updates from Gonzaga vs. Michigan State here
How to watch Michigan State vs. Gonzaga live
Date: Friday, Nov. 11 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: USS Abraham Lincoln -- San Diego
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Michigan State vs. Gonzaga: Need to know
Controversial concept: Five college basketball games have been scheduled for aircraft carriers in the past as part of what was dubbed the "Carrier Classic." But the series met mixed reviews when weather conditions threw a wrench in the plans. Florida and Georgetown had an aircraft carrier game canceled at halftime in the 2012-13 season when condensation on the court made conditions too slippery. A similar issue led to the cancellation of a game between Marquette and Ohio State the same day. But the first-ever game of this type — played between Michigan State and North Carolina in 2011 — was a well-received spectacle, although it resulted in a 67-55 loss for the Spartans.
Tough slates: Both these teams are playing challenging non conference schedules. In fact, the Spartans' slate is ranked No. 1 most challenging by CBS Sports with Gonzaga's non league slate ranking No. 3. After drama-free season-opening victories on Monday, this game merely marks the start of an arduous stretch for both teams. The Zags play No. 12 Texas and No. 4 Kentucky in their next two games while Michigan State's next two are against Kentucky and No. 16 Villanova.
Star players: Gonzaga has a clear star in senior forward Drew Timme, who should surpass 2,000 career points this season, barring injury. Timme is the 2022-23 CBS Sports Preseason Player of the Year and one of three Gonzaga players on our list of the Top 101 players in the sport, along with Julian Strawther (No. 56) and Rasir Bolton (No. 81). Meanwhile, Michigan State does not return a single player who averaged double figures last season — in part because there was only one — and does not have a player on our top 101 list. Senior forward Joey Hauser led the Spartans with 18 points in their season-opening 73-55 win over Northern Arizona, but it's unclear who the Spartans' star player will be, if one emerges at all.
Michigan State vs. Gonzaga prediction, picks
Michigan State is still early in the process of figuring out an identity with a roster that has no clear stars. Gonzaga has an alpha in Drew Timme and the offensive chops to go on debilitating runs in those moments when the Spartans hit offensive dry spells. Play this game again in March and perhaps it's a different story, but the Zags should validate their No. 2 preseason ranking much like they did in a 12-point win over a Texas team that was ranked No. 5 in the second game of last season. Prediction: Gonzaga -10
Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine to get picks from the model that simulates each game 10,000 times and is up more than $1,200 for $100 players on its top-rated spread picks the past six years.