The high-school girls basketball state semifinals and finals are moving back to Michigan State's Breslin Center in East Lansing, perhaps as soon as 2020.
There's one slight hangup: If there's a conflict with the Michigan State women's basketball team and the NCAA Tournament, the girls finals will have to be shifted again.
The girls finals were held in East Lansing from 2004-06 and 2010-17, but because of potential conflicts with Michigan State and the NCAAs, they were moved to Calvin College's Van Noord Arena for the past two seasons.
The early rounds of the NCAA women's Tournament and the state girls finals overlap, and if Michigan State is a top 16 seed, it is able to host the first two rounds. If MSU opens on the road, the Breslin Center then is available for the prep finals.
“We are thankful for the graciousness of all parties involved to allow for this opportunity to bring the girls basketball semifinals and finals back to the Breslin Center,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a statement.
“From the Breslin Center staff, to coach Suzy Merchant and the MSU women’s basketball program, to MSU law enforcement, ticketing and hospitality and then Western Michigan and Hope College and their facilities people for agreeing to reserve their arenas for us in case it’s needed — this agreement happens only because of the immense cooperation by everyone involved.”
This new agreement is a three-year contract.
If Michigan State hosts NCAA Tournament games in 2020, the girls finals will be moved DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, home of Hope College. If Michigan State hosts NCAA Tournament games in 2021, the girls finals will be moved to Read Fieldhouse in Kalamazoo, home of Western Michigan.
Next year's girls semifinals are March 19-20, with the finals March 21. The first two rounds of the NCAA women's Tournament are scheduled for March 20-23.
The boys semifinals and finals will remain at Breslin Center, always the week after the girls. In 2020, the semifinals are March 26-27, and the finals March 28.
This season's Michigan State team is expected to contend for one of the NCAA Tournament's top 16 seeds, with several key senior players returning from last year's team, which went 21-12 and lost in the second round of the tournament to Notre Dame.
In 2016, the Michigan State women were a No. 4 seed, meaning they could host the first two rounds, but because of the girls semifinals and finals, the Spartans had to go on the road to No. 5 Mississippi State, where they lost to the home team, 74-72, in a second-round game. That's what sparked the move away from Breslin Center, even though Merchant always has been a proponent of the girls finals in East Lansing.