The Armed Forces Classic Basketball Game returns in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. ESPN announced the news on Wednesday morning, with the Gonzaga Bulldogs set to take on the Michigan State Spartans.
The game will be held on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego, California on Friday, November 11.
“We are honored to have the unique opportunity to stage the Armed Forces Classic on the USS Abraham Lincoln,” said Clint Overby, Vice President, ESPN Events, in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to thank the men and women of the Navy, and the entire Armed Forces, for allowing us into their world to share their stories and to thank them for their service to our country. We will work with the teams, the Navy and our collective Events group to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants and spectators.”
After a 2-year hiatus, @ESPNEvents' Armed Forces Classic is back!
The 2022 basketball game will be held on Veterans Day aboard the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) July 13, 2022
This marks Michigan State’s third time in the Armed Forces Classic, previously facing off against UNC on the USS Carl Vinson flight deck and participating in the inaugural Armed Forces Classic in 2022 against UConn.
“I know our players, coaches and staff, and all of Michigan State Athletics are very excited about the opportunity to play a tremendous program like Gonzaga on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln while honoring all of those who serve in our military. This game is big for our program, for Michigan State University and for the Big Ten Conference,” said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
“This opportunity to play on an aircraft carrier in front of the men and women who willingly put their lives on the line will be an experience that is going to mean something to the young men who will play in the game for a long, long time. I said it the time in 2011 when we played North Carolina on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson – one of the most humbling experiences of my career, and I’ll say it again, we’re going to play one of the top teams in the country and we’re going to be hosted by the No. 1 team in the world.”
Gonzaga previously faced off against Pittsburgh in the 2015 Armed Forces Classic at U.S. Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler in Okinawa, Japan.