The last we heard, the Carrier Classic, the unofficial kickoff to the basketball season that includes a game played on an aircraft carrier, wouldn't be in San Diego next fall but that UConn would still be one of the two teams featured in the annual event. The inaugural game between UNC and Michigan State last November took place there on the USS Carl Vinson, but for logistical reasons, this year's get-together will be played elsewhere.
Oh, by the way, the Huskies won't be involved, either. According to an ESPN report, the Classic will likely feature Ohio State and Marquette and they will meet on the aircraft carrier Yorktown off Charleston, SC.
But the Huskies weren't replaced because of the sudden wave of transfers or because of the impending 2013 postseason ban. Just the opposite it turns out.
“I want to make this clear – UConn pulled out. We stood by UConn," Mike Whalen, head of Morale Entertainment, the game’s promoter, told the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. "We were blind-sided. We were disappointed, we had to scramble.”
More details via Amore:
As weeks wore on, with no opponent in place, UConn officials began to grow more pessimistic about the game. Whalen said he had trouble finding a team that wanted to play UConn, or one UConn would accept. No one at UConn would say if the school was officially pulling out of the game. Whalen said he would like to expand the Carrier Classic into the tournament in the future and still hopes to get UConn involved.
In the scheme of things, it's not the worst news the Huskies have faced in recent months. Losing five players and being banned from the 2013 postseason are much bigger issues, especially when it comes to recruiting and competing in the Big East. As for what the program has to look forward to in 2012-13, there's the Paradise Jam in mid-November that also features Wake Forest (UConn's first opponent in the tourney), George Mason, Iona, Mercer, New Mexico, Quinnipiac, and University Illinois-Chicago.