Detroit bracing for news on future Final Four

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Villanova defeated Michigan in this year's Final Four championship game.

The Detroit Sports Commission is expecting to find out Monday or Tuesday if it has landed an upcoming men's basketball Final Four.

An announcement from the NCAA is imminent, said Kris Smith, director of the Sports Commission.

"These things can go 50-50. You never know which way the wind's going to blow that day," Smith told The Detroit News on Thursday. "What I can tell you is we did our very best and put our best foot forward.

"We put it all on the table."

The NCAA is expected to announce sites for the 2023, '24, '25 and '26 Final Fours. The finalists long have been identified as Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Indianapolis.

Detroit has hosted one previous Final Four, in 2009, when Michigan State lost to North Carolina in the championship game at Ford Field. Detroit Mercy was the host school in 2009.

Ford Field, which recently underwent a $100-million renovation, again would be the host venue. Michigan State would be the host school this time, with the Big Ten possibly serving as a co-host.

Representatives of the NCAA were in Detroit last month, touring Ford Field and attending a swanky reception on the rooftop of the Madison Building. In attendance were the likes of interim Michigan State president John Engler, MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel and former MSU athletic director Mark Hollis, who now is working as a marketing consultant to Dan Gilbert. Gilbert, the billionaire booster, is expected to play a role in Detroit hosting the Final Four if it wins a bid.

That was the NCAA and its basketball committee's one and only official visit to Detroit during this site-selection process, which dates back more than a year.

"These are the athletic directors, 13 athletic directors from around America, most of whom had come in and seen the town, they said, 'We couldn’t believe when Detroit’s application came in you were going to make the finals,'" Detroit mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday, speaking during a luncheon at Cobo Center. "Once they came to town they all said the same thing: ‘I was last there five years ago. I was last there 10 years ago. I can’t believe what has changed.'"

Final Four sites are set for 2019-22, for Minneapolis, Atlanta, Indianapolis and New Orleans, respectively.

This past March, Little Caesars Arena hosted first- and second-round games of the NCAA Tournament.

Candice Williams contributed.