Michigan State is on to something

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Michigan State’s secret is out.

Joe Rexrode dug it up and Matt Norlander brought it to our attention.

They want to play basketball on a boat. Not just any boat. An aircraft carrier. The goal? To play North Carolina on 11/11/11 — better known as Veteran’s Day next season — in a double header that also includes a game between two of the service academies.

It sounds a bit gimmicky, but this could turn into something awesome. Hear me out.

For starters, the games would take place during the first week of the season. You know, that week that has the first games of the Coaches vs. Cancer? That week that we’ve railed on for not drawing enough attention to the start of basketball season?

In fact, if Michigan State does this right, we may have just found the solution to our problem.

So what is “right”? If I had a say in the matter, it would go a little something like this:

  • Don’t just play the game on an aircraft carrier. Play it on an aircraft carrier that is out in the middle of the ocean.
  • Don’t allow the game to look like the games currently taking place in Puerto Rico. Those arenas are empty, and the lack of crowd noise really shows through on television. Its a weird viewing experience, and completely goes against everything that makes college basketball so great. I propose that the student sections for all four schools are flown in to sit in bleachers set up around the court.
  • Turn the event into a fundraiser for disabled veterans.
  • Be sure to have as much sappy, feel-good filler as possible. Things like bringing in heroes from our armed forces to have an honorary jump ball, similar to bringing in celebrities to throw out the first pitch of a baseball game.
  • Put it on CBS in primetime. ESPN already has their 24 Hour Tip-Off Marathon. Give CBS a reason to get people excited for the season. Bring in Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery to call the game. Who doesn’t love that duo?

Then make this game into a tradition. Not necessarily on an aircraft, however. Maybe the following year, the NCAA teams up with N7 to play a doubleheader that raises money for Native Americans. The year after that, the games could be hosted at a place like Rucker Park or the courts at Venice Beach — street ball courts — to help raise money for people living on the street.

The games would raise money for good causes. It would draw positive attention to the sport. And it would get people interested in — or at the very least aware of — the start of college basketball season.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.