On Friday night, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Ohio State Buckeyes will face off in the 2012 Carrier Classic on the NBC Sports Network, as set up by the official website of the game.
In the Women’s game, Notre Dame, the 2012 NCAA championship runner up, will take on Ohio State, which finished No. 16 in the AP Top 25. The Women’s game expands the Carrier Classic and enables Morale and its sponsors the opportunity to elevate awareness of women’s critical role in service to our country...The women basketball match-up features two of the NCAA’s most successful coaches. Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw has compiled a 679-256 record in her 30 years as the Fighting Irish head coach, including the 2001 national championship. Interestingly enough, McGraw began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant to Ohio State’s Jim Foster when both were at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Foster will enter his 11th season at Ohio State and 30th as a college head coach, and has compiled a 765-294 mark.
The second annual basketball event held on an aircraft carrier will also feature a men's game between Ohio State - a Final Four participant - and Marquette before the women's game.
The women's game offers a little something for both women's college and professional basketball fans in an unusual venue that would be as interesting to watch teams prepare for as it is to watch, as alluded to by Jim Massie of the Columbus Dispatch.
How does a coach prepare beyond checking the Weather Channel?
"You just go outside to the local playground on a windy day and throw it up," Foster said. "If the wind is blowing, we’re taking it to the hole. That’s all I can tell you. Maybe this generation is different, but previous generations grew up playing the game outdoors and figured out how to adjust. Maybe that’s why city players are so much more take-to-the-basket kind of players."
Both #6/7 Notre Dame and #19/21 Ohio State are ranked in the preseason top 25 polls, but both lost stars from last season in the first round of the 2012 WNBA draft.
The Fighting Irish enter the season without forward Devereaux Peters who was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx and Natalie Novosel who ended up in the opposite situation with the last place Washington Mystics. The Buckeyes lost star point guard Samanta Prahalis who was drafted sixth overall by the Phoenix Mercury and was the runner-up for 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
However, these two teams are hardly lacking for WNBA talent this season. Notre Dame will be looking for a third consecutive Final Four appearance with women's basketball superstar Skylar Diggins leading the way as one of the top three 2013 WNBA draft prospects. Not to be outdone, Ohio State features guard Tayler Hill who has a good chance of being a lottery pick in the 2013 draft as arguably the fourth-best prospect in the nation. With all the focus on the Big Three 2013 draft prospects, Hill's pro potential might be a bit overshadowed this season.
What really stands about Hill as a WNBA prospect is how efficient she was as a scorer in her junior season - her ability to score in a variety ways while keeping turnovers to a minimum makes Hill an elite draft guard prospect for the next level. In any normal draft year - meaning one without the likes of Diggins, Delaware's 6-foot-5 wing Elena Delle Donne, and Baylor's Brittney Griner - a player with Hill's profile would almost certainly be considered in the mix for one of the top two picks rather than a fringe lottery prospect.
Proceeds from the game will benefit a number of charitable organizations, including the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Museum and the Wounded Warrior Projects. The inclusion of the women's game represents an effort to elevate awareness of women's critical role in service to our country. Spalding is an official sponsor of the event and will provide two Arena 10' portable backstops (the same type seen on NCAA Final Four and NBA arenas) along with Spalding ballracks.
"The Carrier Classic is a unique tribute to our armed forces and Spalding is honored to be part of the game," said Gary Barfield, executive vice president, Russell Brands, LLC. "We are proud to help celebrate these great teams, our armed service members and our country at this event."
Overall, as a high profile game featuring two of the top WNBA draft prospects, this game is certainly worth watching on Friday night.