SAN DIEGO – The season-opening basketball game between No. 9 Syracuse and No. 20 San Diego State on the flight deck of the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Midway has been moved from Friday night to Sunday afternoon due to a strong chance of rain and wind.
The new tipoff time is 1 p.m. Sunday.
The original tipoff was to have been 5 p.m. Friday, but the forecast calls for a 75 percent chance of rain and wind reaching 16 mph. Officials said moving the game to Sunday was preferable to playing it Friday night at a sports arena.
Sunday's forecast calls for clear conditions, a high of 67 degrees, wind of 8 mph and zero chance of rain.
"The purpose of the game is to play it on the Midway," SDSU coach Steve Fisher said. "So that's what we want to almost guarantee that we can have happen. So the only reason we're moving it from Friday to Sunday is to guarantee the fact that we'll play it on the Midway."
San Diego State was scheduled to play San Diego Christian on Sunday night. That game has been moved to Tuesday night.
The threat of rain is one of the biggest obstacles facing organizers of games on aircraft carriers. It began pouring less than an hour after last year's Carrier Classic between North Carolina and Michigan State on the USS Carl Vinson on San Diego Bay, the first college basketball game on active carrier.
This year, three flat tops are hosting games, including the Midway.
The second Carrier Classic is scheduled for Friday night in Charleston, S.C., between No. 4 Ohio State and Marquette on the USS Yorktown, which like the Midway, is now a museum. It will be preceded by a women's game between No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 19 Ohio State.
The Navy-Marine Corps Classic between Georgetown and No. 10 Florida is scheduled for Friday night in Jacksonville, Fla., on the deck of the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship that's being moved from its homeport of Norfolk, Va., to Naval Station Mayport for the game.
Fisher said the delay doesn't really help the Aztecs.
"We have to play against a very efficient zone defense, which most teams in America have trouble scoring on," Fisher said. "So that will be our challenge. That and dealing with their size and can we defend them with that size?"
Fisher has said he'd like to take his top five shooters for a workout on an outdoor court, if he can find an acceptable one.
"Coach has something up his sleeve," guard Xavier Thames said. "We might go outside and shoot for a little bit and something like that. But I'm sure the coaching staff will have us prepared and we'll be all right. This is the game of basketball. We've been playing it our whole lives, so I'm sure we'll be OK."