SAN DIEGO – Gonzaga and Michigan State will square off in a highly anticipated college basketball matchup on Veterans Day aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the San Diego harbor, the universities and ESPN Events announced this week.

Tickets to the primetime showcase on Nov. 11 are expected to go to both schools involved and the military, part of ESPN’s Armed Forces Classic. It will not be open to the general public.

“We are honored to have the unique opportunity to stage the Armed Forces Classic on the USS Abraham Lincoln,” Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events, said in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to thank the men and women of the Navy, and the entire Armed Forces, for allowing us into their world to share their stories and to thank them for their service to our country.

“We will work with the teams, the Navy and our collective Events group to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants and spectators.”

The Zags and the Spartans are two of the sport’s powerhouse programs, widely known for their recruiting prowess and ability to make deep runs when the calendar flips to March. For MSU, it marks a return to San Diego after facing North Carolina in 2011 on the USS Carl Vinson with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance.

Even as MSU lost the game, head coach Tom Izzo called it “one of the most humbling experiences of my career.”

CORONADO, CA – NOVEMBER 11: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama make their way to their seats before the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Michigan State Spartans during the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on board the USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011 in Coronado, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

“This opportunity to play on an aircraft carrier in front of men and women who serve in the military and are willing to put their lives on the line is an experience that is going to mean something to the young men who will play in the game for a long, long time,” Izzo said. “I said it last time and I’ll say it again, we’re going to play one of the best teams in the country and we’re going to be hosted by the No. 1 team in the world.”

When the teams tip off, it will be the first game on a San Diego-based aircraft carrier in a decade with the last coming in 2012 when Syracuse topped San Diego State on the USS Midway Museum flight deck.

It’s also the first Armed Forces Classic held in more than three years.

The Associated Press reported that the USS Abraham Lincoln currently is on deployment and is slated to return to the area later this summer.