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Navy will open men’s basketball season vs. George Washington in Veteran’s Classic

George Washington will visit the Yard for the first time since the 1981-82 season for the seventh annual Veteran’s Classic.

NCAA Basketball: Navy at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Ed DeChellis saying otherwise about a month ago, Navy will indeed host the Veteran’s Classic this season for men’s basketball.

The academy announced Wednesday that it will open the season by hosting George Washington for the seventh-annual Veteran’s Classic, which will air on CBS Sports Network. The game is set for Nov. 25 — which is opening day for college basketball this year — and will tip off at noon EST.

It will be the first Division I men’s college basketball game played this season.

Typically held annually around Veterans Day — which falls on Nov. 11 this year — the Veteran’s Classic honors the nation’s veterans and showcases the U.S. Naval Academy. It has usually featured two games, one of which often featured a Power 5 team. But in the year of the coronavirus, Navy had to settle for just one game for the special event.

Despite being separated by about 36 miles, the Midshipmen and Colonials haven’t met in men’s basketball in about a decade. And they haven’t played at the Naval Academy since the 1981-82 season. George Washington holds a 21-20 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1908.

“Having our young men participate in a college basketball tradition on national television is a dream way to start a season that has been a long time coming,” Colonials’ head coach Jamion Christian said in a statement. “Our group has come so far since last March in our connectivity with one another, and we’re excited to show the country what GW Basketball is all about at an outstanding event like the Veterans Classic.”

GW returns four starters from a team that went 12-20 last season, Christian’s first year on the job. Navy was 14-16 (8-10 Patriot League) last season, DeChellis’ ninth year leading the Mids. Under DeChellis, Navy has not finished better than third in the Patriot League.

Navy is 2-4 in Veteran’s Classic games, beating East Carolina a year ago and topping Pitt in 2017.

The Mids have not yet finalized the remainder of their schedule.