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Carrier Classic: Spartans Open The Season With No. 1 North Carolina

For more on the Spartans, visit SB Nation's The Only Colors.

One of the most unique college basketball games ever will take place Friday evening in San Diego Bay as the Michigan State Spartans and No. 1 rated North Carolina Tar Heels will open the 2011-12 college basketball season on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson. the idea of the Carrier Classic was developed to honor Veteran's Day, and it is an event drawing so much attention that President Obama will be in attendance.

The Tar Heels enter the game as the favorite to win the National Championship, mostly because of their returning cast of players:

I'm caught between trying to grasp how good this team can be, and tempering my own expectations, which in many years have a tendency to drift towards "repeats of 1957" and "beginnings of a dynasty." And I've found it helpful to not break things down by position, but by class.

SB Nation's The Only Colors saw a lot of positives from Michigan State's exhibition season, but notes that coach Tom Izzo is still working on finding a rotation:

As the Spartans head into the North Carolina game, it's clear that Izzo hasn't completely determined the rotation yet - 10 players had double-digit minutes in last night's game. The core is clearly going to be Green, Dawson, Appling, Payne, Nix and Wood with Thornton, Trice, Byrd and Alex Gauna getting some yet-to-be-determined slice of the remaining minutes.