Detroit – With the brand new Little Caesars Arena nearing completion Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Michigan’s John Beilein, Oakland’s Greg Kampe and Detroit Mercy’s Bacari Alexander gathered downtown to announce a double-header of games, featuring the four teams to be played on December 16th.
But with the announcement of college basketball heading downtown in December, could we see Big Ten Tournament basketball being played in Detroit in March?
Izzo said that while he is unaware if any discussions regarding the matter have taken place as of yet, they will happen in the near future.
“I don’t know if there has been yet, but there will be,” he said. “With the hotel space we have down here, with the restaurants we have down here.”
With the Big Ten Tournament taking place in several different cities in recent years, Detroit would offer a central location that would be easily accessible for almost all Big Ten teams and its fans.
Izzo said that while the Big Ten Tournament has seen success in cities like Chicago and Indianapolis, he envisions the city of Detroit having similar, if not better, success if it were to host the event down the road because of the ability to accommodate teams and their fans.
“If you ask me, we should just have it here and to hell with the other places,” he said. “We probably are as centrally located as anybody – Chicago and Indy have been good – but I think what they’re doing around here, it would be, even more so than Chicago, it would be more like Indy where everything is right here. You can get a hotel and walk everywhere and that’s the coolest thing that I like about Indy that when fans are walking around the streets and everybody is carrying their colors, that’s exciting to me as I think about it and talk about it right now. I think that’s what would be intriguing and interesting and I would definitely be on the bandwagon with Tom Wilson and his group to try and get the Big Ten Tournament here. I’m sure John (Beilein) feels the same way.”
Much like Izzo, Michigan head coach John Beilein has a vested interest in bringing the Big Ten Tournament to Detroit and voiced his support for the event to take place in Detroit, telling Spartan Nation that he believes the location would make a lot of sense for the teams involved.
“I think it’s a great idea as well,” he said. “With 14 teams, it looks like it’s going to bounce around a little bit because we’re now from all (around) geographically. We’re definitely into the east now, we’ve obviously been in the Midwest forever and so I think it’s a great idea and I would really support that.”
Bringing the tournament to Detroit would not happen for at least a couple of years as it has already been scheduled to take place at other venues in the coming years, but with both Izzo and Beilein ready to make a bid, we could see Big Ten basketball in the city of Detroit down the road.
Izzo reiterated that the onus of bringing the Big Ten Tournament to Detroit would be on himself, Beilein and Olympia Entertainment President and CEO Tom Wilson and said that seeing the fanfare for the event would be something he’d love to see happen in his home state.
“I think John Beilein and I and Tom Wilson have to deal with the job of pushing that to our commissioner,” he said. “The only city that I’ve seen like this is really Indy where everything is within walking distance. I think there should be, eventually, you’ve got the Final Four that you can house there, you’ve got conference tournaments that you can house here. But you’re going to have a city with the restaurants and hotels and all of their fans are walking around the city, that to me is the coolest thing there is. It’s almost bigger and better than the games.”
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