These 5 Locations Could Replace the Breslin Center as the Home of the MHSAA Basketball Finals
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) is reportedly considering alternative sites to the Breslin Center to host the boy's and girl's basketball semifinal and final games.
This decision comes after last year where Michigan State's women's basketball team had to give up hosting NCAA tournament games when they were awarded a 4-seed (games were hosted at the 5-seed Mississippi State's gym instead) because of the scheduling conflict with the MHSAA. When the MHSAA and Michigan State made this agreement women's tournament games did not have top seeded schools hosting tournament games.
Also a possibility of conflict this season is Michigan State's men's basketball, should they not make the NCAA tournament, could be in line for a high seed in the NIT where the first three rounds are hosted at campus sites. The NIT is a little more flexible than the rigid NCAA tournament but usually the first three rounds are completed within a week.
The Breslin Center hosts the girls state semis and finals from March 16-18 and the boys semis and finals from March 23-25. The NIT is slated to start on March 14th.
With the scheduling conflicts now becoming NCAA level issues and not just Michigan State issues, it makes sense for the MHSAA to consider a venue change. Here are five potential new homes for the MHSAA.
If the MHSAA wants a similar Big Ten atmosphere, look no further than Crisler Center on the campus of Michigan. However, the same problems they've run into at MSU could easily occur at Michigan as well in regards to women's hosting the NCAAs or men's hosting in the NIT or in the NCAAs as a neutral site, if that is something Michigan would want to pursue. The Crisler Center has been a previous host for the MHSAA.
Keeping the higher education atmosphere intact while also keeping the centralized location would make McGuirk arena in Mount Pleasant a strong fit for the MHSAA. Upper Peninsula and northern L.P. teams would be less burdened by travel, while teams in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area add just an hour more to their commute up 127. Additionally, it is entirely possible that one or both weekends the MHSAA would use would be during CMU's Spring break, so overcrowding the small college town wouldn't be an issue.
Eastern Michigan University has previously hosted the girls tournament finals, but never the boys. However, a recent news story that EMU is planning on $35 million in upgardes to its athletic facilities might make the MHSAA give Ypsilanti some attention. While the report does not specifically list improvements to its basketball facilities it could be added if given the incentive of hosting MHSAA tournament finals games.
While Grand Valley State University, and Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek have served as previous hosts, plus Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo has a 5,000 seat stadium for basketball, a great location should the MHSAA look west would be the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Only the Grand Rapids Griffins and touring concerts and entertainment acts use the facilites so there wouldn't be much headache to plan around using a professional stadium. Additionally Van Andel Arena has hosted the Big ten Women's basketball tournament and has bid for the "First Four" for the NCAA tournament so basketball is something the arena can do.
Simultaneously the most ambitious and most unlikely location, the Little Caesars Arena will be open this summer and on top of hosting Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons games there will be numerous concerts and entertainment events plus the Horizon League tournament is being held at Joe Louis Arena this season, so the possibility exists that that tournament will also be in the new Little Caesars Arena. All of that the MHSAA would possibly have to compete to find spots to play their games. It might not be worth the headache.