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Florida, Georgetown to play on aircraft carrier

Fri 15th, June 2012

Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Florida and Georgetown will open the 2012-13 men's college basketball season on the deck of an aircraft carrier on November 9, the start of Veteran's Day weekend.

The two teams will play off the coast of Jacksonville at Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown and secretary of Navy Ray Mabus announced in a joint press conference Friday.

"Just being able to do this in our own state, in front of people who wear the uniform and protect the freedoms we have in this country, I just think it's a great honor and I truly appreciate that they would want our program for a game like this," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "It'll just be an incredible experience."

Both Florida and Georgetown made the NCAA Tournament last season. Florida reached the Elite Eight, while Georgetown fell to NC State after beating Belmont in the first round of the tournament.

"I think the level of excitement for our whole program will be off the charts," Florida senior associate athletic director Mike Hill said. "What a great way to start the season."

Also on November 9, Marquette will open its season on a ship off the coast of Charleston, SC against Ohio State, and Syracuse will face San Diego State on the flight deck of the USS Midway off the coast of San Diego.

Last season, Michigan State and North Carolina started the season with the "Carrier Classic," when the two teams played on the USS Carl Vinson off the coast of San Diego in front of more than 8,000 servicemen and women.

"It'll draw tremendous attention to basketball in early November, and having spoken to people at Michigan State and North Carolina, it was a memory of a lifetime," Hill said.

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