June 9, 2014
EAST LANSING, Michigan - The Michigan State men's basketball team will open the 2014-15 season at the Naval Academy on Friday, Nov. 14. The Spartans are participating in the inaugural "Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy," which will feature a doubleheader in an annual showcase in celebration of Veterans Day. MSU and Navy will play in the second game of this year's doubleheader (9 p.m.), while Tennessee and VCU will meet in the first game. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the games in addition to featuring on-site pre-game, halftime and post-game studio coverage, live from Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Maryland.
"I've been fortunate enough to play in some amazing venues and be part of some great events, but the one thing I've always felt was missing was the chance to play at one of our service academies," said MSU coach Tom Izzo. "I'm excited to expose my team to the realities of life at the Naval Academy. Over the years I've had the opportunity to interact with the U.S. military in many different places, including coaching a team of servicemen and women in Kuwait, playing basketball games on an aircraft carrier and on an air base in Germany, and even meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey this past May. Every time, I'm convinced that the U.S. military is our country's greatest team, and I'm floored by the discipline, sacrifice and attitude of its men and women.
"We are honored to take part in an event honoring our Veterans, and to be playing at a place that has produced some of our country's great leaders. And for me, I'm glad to have another opportunity to coach against my friend Ed DeChellis, a coach for whom I have the utmost respect. "
The Michigan State football team will play the following night at Maryland (Nov. 15, 8 p.m.) in College Park, Maryland, located approximately 30 miles from Annapolis.
The Spartans are ranked No. 18 in the 2014-15 ESPN Preseason Top 25 (April 28), and will be led by 2014 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player Branden Dawson, as he averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds in 2013-14. Last season, Michigan State posted a 29-9 record, including 12-6 in the Big Ten, captured the Big Ten Tournament title and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Navy returns its top seven scorers from a squad that posted a 9-21 record last season. The Midshipmen are coached by former Penn State coach Ed DeChellis.
The event will take place each year through 2017, with Navy hosting and participating, along with other top teams from across the country. The Veterans Classic officially tips off CBS Sports Network's 2014 college basketball schedule.
The three participating schools will have the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like as a midshipman at the Naval Academy. From touring the `Yard,' to watching noon meal formation and eating lunch with the Brigade at King Hall, the teams will be immersed in the culture and tradition of the Naval Academy. The event will include a number of other unique experiences, including military demonstrations and receptions.
"We are excited to collaborate with the Naval Academy to honor our veterans and celebrate the beginning of the college basketball season with this annual event," said Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. "With three 2014 NCAA Tournament teams, we look forward to tipping off the season with a great night of college basketball."
"This should be a terrific event over the next four years featuring some of the best college basketball teams in the country," said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. "We are excited to be able to put on a first class event with our partners from CBS, while also honoring veterans from all the services. It will be an incredible opportunity for our basketball program to host some of the premier basketball programs in the country in Alumni Hall."