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Carrier Classic: North Carolina vs. Michigan State

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Michigan State Spartans (+10.5, 134.5)

THE STORY: In a game dubbed the “Carrier Classic,” top-ranked North Carolina will square off against Michigan State outdoors on an aircraft carrier docked in the Naval Harbor in San Diego. President Obama is scheduled to attend the game, along with many active duty military in a celebration of Veteran’s Day. Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller lead a loaded Tar Heels team that is expected to compete for both the ACC crown and national championship. Michigan State lost three key players from a disappointing 2010-11 team that was ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the Spartans are still picked by the coaches to finish third in the Big Ten.

North Carolina is 10-3 all-time against Michigan State and has won five straight meetings.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

ODDS: Las Vegas Sports Consultants expected North Carolina to be set at -9 or -9.5, but most books sent out North Carolina -10.5 late Thursday evening. Meanwhile, setting the total seems to be more of a concern for the books.

"Offense could be a problem for both teams," John Avello, sportsbook director at the Wynn, told Covers.com Thursday evening. "Shooters usually have a difficult time when their backgrounds are changed - it doesn't matter if we're talking about an NFL stadium or an aircraft carrier."

WEATHER: The forecast for San Diego is calling for temperatures in the mid 60s with a humidity index of 50 percent. There will be a slight breeze, blowing south at 8 mph. There is a 20 percent chance of rain during the day with a 70 percent chance of showers later in the evening.

"I think it's going to be a memory-making experience in a lot of ways," MSU head coach Tom Izzo told the Detroit Free Press. "I don't know what's going to happen when we get there. I don't know about the wind. I don't know about rain. I don't know about anything. I don't really care, to be honest with you. I just want to play the game, and hopefully it's as good an event as it can be because of our military, because of the reason the game is being played.

"The game itself is more for us. But the reason is more for them."

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (2010: 29-8, 14-2 ACC, 16-17-1 ATS): Roy Williams has won two national titles in his eight years at North Carolina, but many are calling this his most talented roster yet. Barnes — who surprised many by not entering the NBA Draft after a stellar freshman campaign — is a preseason All-American, and Zeller is one of the country’s most polished big men. Lanky power forward John Henson was the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year, and sophomore Kendall Marshall is Williams’ ideal point guard — fast with the ball and possessing excellent court vision.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (2010: 19-15, 9-9 Big Ten, 11-21-1 ATS): Senior forward Draymond Green headlines a talented and experienced frontcourt for the Spartans, who had one of their worst seasons in recent memory in 2010-11. But questions remain in the backcourt, where Michigan State lost do-everything point guard Kalin Lucas. Sophomore Keith Appling is a combo guard that could provide scoring, while newcomers Travis Trice and Brandon Wood — a transfer from Valparaiso — will audition for the point.
 
TIP-INS:

1. San Diego weather is normally perfect, but the forecast does call for some rain over the weekend.

2. North Carolina has won 76 of its last 81 season-openers, including six in a row.

3. The teams will also wear special camouflage uniforms to honor the troops.

TRENDS:

• Favorite is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
• Spartans are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings.
• Spartans are 1-5 ATS in their last six neutral site games.
• Tar Heels are 7-2 ATS in their last nine vs. Big Ten.

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Posted by Greedybastard
2 years ago

How is this game a "must bet?" It is a basketball game being played outdoors on a ship. Not to mention, it is the first game of the season. Must watch, Yes. Must Bet, No.
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Posted by Crusher13
2 years ago

Another photo OP for POTUS?!?.!!..??? Pitiful...........
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Posted by rosshuff
2 years ago

Send Izzo home with that permanent frown and his ugly face. Hate MSU they suck
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Posted by coakley69
2 years ago

I'll take the 11 points since elements will factor into the game. I doubt NC runs up the score on purpose in a setting like this. If it rains do you think the all americans from NC play 40 minutes and risk injury?
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Posted by malkin
2 years ago

North Carolina in front of Obama should put michigan St out of it's misery.
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Posted by DeBo15
2 years ago

Delvon Roe, won't be doing much in the front court for the Spartans considering he retired due to knee problems.
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Posted by mrusso
2 years ago

Most of Carolina's points will be in or around the paint. Background won't matter. Don't really see this game being very close. Recent history favors 'Heels too.
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Top Response

Posted by DeBo15
2 years ago

"Delvon Roe, won't be doing much in the front court for the Spartans considering he retired due to knee problems."