How to carry forward Marquette-Ohio State's dew-fallen Carrier Classic
MILWAUKEE - It's believed to be the first-ever college basketball game canceled on account of dew.
Marquette's season-opening matchup with the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes served, in part, a greater purpose than anything having to do with basketball.
But the basketball never happened, thanks to how not even the powers of the U.S. Navy could defeat Mother Nature's wet will on the hardwood placed on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C.
The image of Buzz Williams in a Navy hat and combat boots, wiping a court while on his knees, absolutely was the picturesque image of the night - how even the wills of rear-end kicking basketball coaches couldn't match that of the Atlantic humidity's effects.
But what the weather caused was the biggest letdown this side of a tournament upset - not even getting the chance to upset one of basketball's powerhouses.
So, there's a couple options I've thought of to give these guys another chance, even though it seems that the two schools don't think they have another date on which they can play.
1) Carrier Classic, take 2 - in Sweet Home Chicago
I did some calendar checking and research on some navy bases, and unlike the initial thoughts that there's no way to make up the game this season, perhaps there's a chance.
On Monday, December 3, the United Center in Chicago is unbooked.
It's 36 miles by car, or two hours in not-so-perfect rush hour traffic, from the Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago, IL, just miles from the Wisconsin border.
Dec. 3 is four days after Marquette's road game in the Big East/SEC Challenge at Florida, and five days before the school's biggest rivalry game, hosting Wisconsin in what should be dubbed the "Cheesehead Classic."
Dec. 3 is also two days after Ohio State's give-Northern-Kentucky-the-payday-it-needs-to-operate-its-athletic-department-and-knock-them-upside-their-proverbial-head-on-the-scoreboard game, and five days before doing the same to Long Beach State.
Mr. Larry Williams (Marquette AD) and Mr. Gene Smith (Ohio State AD), and those organizers who botched getting these teams and the fans in a nearby arena after the dew issue, how about this as an alternate plan?
- Book the United Center on December 3rd.
- Invite, for free, everyone from the Great Lakes Naval Station who can come down for the game
- With the Navy's help, airlift anyone from Charleston who had tickets to the game and transport them to Chicago with free tickets to the contest.
- Give everyone who flew in from Milwaukee and Columbus for the games free tickets/hotel/etc. for this game.
- Split the rest of the arena among Marquette and Ohio State fans (yes, there are plenty of Buckeyes in close range of Chicago to make it an even representation).
- Make sure NBC Sports Network has the night free. (They probably do, considering there will be no NHL games going that night.)
- Play what could be a showcase game for college basketball in December, and honor the troops by doing what they do all the time - find a way around an obstacle and complete the mission.
2) Carrier Classic take 3, 364 days later in a warmer climate
There aren't many aircraft carriers available for use in the hottest parts of America to hold a game like this, and I don't necessarily think it's the smartest idea to hold the game on a carrier outside the United States that may need to go into use at any moment for our nation's defense.
But there are a couple options.
The first: the USS Lexington.
No, Texas isn't a college basketball hotbed. But it is the home to Buzz Williams, and he doesn't exactly get the chance to bring his team down to his home state.
This would be a fantastic homecoming for him, and in a climate where its typically a bit warmer than South Carolina - an average low of 58 degrees at night.
The other question: is a battleship big enough to hold a basketball court?
If so, here's one of many places where you could hold such a game next year on Veterans' weekend: The USS Iowa in Los Angeles.
Just like Corpus Christi, the average low is much higher than South Carolina.
You'd probably play the game when the sun is still up, 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. Los Angeles time, when dew fall is not the issue, and if they have a night game, the bigger worry would be L.A. smog - not so dangerous to play in.
You should give free tickets and travel assistance to all those Marquette and Ohio State fans who didn't get to see this year's edition.
Additionally, you could schedule a doubleheader of Marquette-Ohio State and, perhaps properly considering the locale and name of the ship, Iowa-UCLA.
If you need a rain site, there's PLENTY of places to play - including UCLA's own Pauley Pavilion.
A game like that would be connected to a big Veterans Appreciation festival which they're holding out there this weekend.
I've put a feeler out to the USS Iowa to see if they think they could stick a basketball court on the ship's bow or stern.
If so, there's your solution for next year...and hopefully not a dew-slipped quagmire like this year's Carrier Classic turned out to be.