It’s not a huge surprise, but it’s official now: The North Carolina Tar Heels will be ranked No. 1 in the nation when they play Michigan State in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on Nov. 11 in San Diego. The USA Today / ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll was released today, and UNC got 30 out of 31 first-place votes.
UNC is loaded this year, and the sailors and other service members watching the Carrier Classic will be seeing some future NBA players go after it on the Carl Vinson. The Tar Heels return all five starters from last season — including the stacked frontcourt of Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Each of those guys would have been first-round NBA draft picks if they had decided to go pro.
Michigan State was 28th in the voting. It’s a brutal start to the season for the Spartans — after opening with UNC on the Vinson, MSU will play 6th-ranked Duke four days later.
Carl Vinson news
Looks like a few more seats just opened up for the big game in November. A Navy investigation into synthetic marijuana use has led to the busts of 64 sailors, including 46 sailors from the Carl Vinson. According to 3rd Fleet, the sailors were all charged with using or distributing spice, a so-called designer drug that is supposed to be synthetic alternative to marijuana.