Eight New Basketball Venues to Host the Big Ten Tournament in the Future

Eight New Basketball Venues to Host the Big Ten Tournament in the Future
Eight New Basketball Venues to Host the Big Ten Tournament in the Future

OK, Big Ten Tournament, you had your fun in D.C. and New York, but thank you for recognizing that it’s time to come home to the Midwest. We humored you throughout this rebellious phase, but at the same time we applaud your initiative to go somewhere other than Chicago and Indianapolis. You’re still right to think that should happen, but maybe you should serve the rest of the Midwest before you go gallivanting about the coastline again.

To that end, here are the next five venues that should host the Big Ten Tournament:

The majestic Superior Dome is about as B1G as it gets. The world’s largest wooden dome is located on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Marquette in Michigan’s upper peninsula. The Northern Michigan Wildcats play football here with a seating capacity of 8,000, but the building can hold 16,000. Given the lack of interstate highways in the Yoop, this would be an event for hardcore Big Ten basketball fans only, nestled within the confines of the Douglas fir trees that comprise the structure of the Yooper Dome, safe from winds up to 80mph.

Sawyer International Airport services the Yoop’s largest city of Marquette (around 22,000) and O’Hare and DTW fly there. By 2023, I say the Big Ten needs to recommit to celebrating its regional identities. Where else but the Great Lakes region could you play basketball in such a place?

I’d hold it here every year, even though…

Home Court Advantage: Wisconsin, because Yoopers are way closer to Wisconsinites than Michiganders.

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Opened in 1928, this is the sixth-oldest basketball arena still in use as well as part of the National Register of Historic Places. The home of the Butler Bulldogs is also known as “Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral,” having hosted Indiana high school basketball championship games for decades. Among these games was the 1954 Milan Miracle, the subject of Hoosiers. The Big Ten Tournament is being played in Indianapolis in 2020 and 2022 anyway, so why not go somewhere that truly is as rich in history and tradition as they all told us Madison Square Garden was?

Home Court Advantage: Indiana, because Hoosiers

The Big Ten Tournament has been played in cities without Big Ten teams nearby, like Chicago and New York, so why not continue this trend with Des Moines? With a capacity of 16,110 and a liquor license, I’m not sure what more you could ask for if you want to put Big Ten Basketball right in the heartland. Plus, Drake University’s nearby Knapp Center also has a liquor license and seats 7,192; perfect for the Wednesday games.

Home Court Advantage: Iowa, because reasons

Without Lebron James, there’s not really a whole lot of business for this humble arena. It seats over 19,000 and is in one of the biggest cities in the B1G footprint. The site of so much futility is perfect for a Wisconsin vs. Northwestern game, is it not? This one seems like a no-brainer

Home Court Advantage: Minnesota, because they have the same colors as the Cavs

After the 2026 tournament ends up being less than half full, the Big Ten fully commits to the American heartland and holds the Big Ten Tournament in the World’s Only Corn Palace, home of the Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers. Across the street, official mascot Cornelius will welcome visitors to the Mitchell Corn Palace, and though its 3200 seating capacity is smaller than the Big Ten would prefer, this guarantees a sold-out affair for which Big Ten basketball hardcore fans and corn art enthusiasts alike clamor to get tickets.

Home Court Advantage: Nebraska

Anticipating that the Corn Palace tournament would be a huge success, the Big Ten went even farther and made an even more exclusive tournament in the historic 1800-seat Edwards Gymnasium on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University. Opened in 1906, it has been supplanted by the Branch Rickey Arena as the home of the Battling Bishops, but it remains open and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Ticket prices are outrageous and this one sells out quickly.

Home Court Advantage: Northwestern is the only team not jarred by having 1,800 in attendance

The Big Ten breaks with tradition and goes to a city with a Big Ten school, but not to use that god-awful bleach-white raised floor. Instead, it’s the historic Minnesota Armory, the former home of George Mikan’s Minneapolis Lakers, which was saved from life as a fancy parking lot last year in the run up to the Super Bowl. Opened in 1936, this legendary building was featured in Prince’s 1999 video. The fact that there aren’t Minnesotans angrily lobbying the Big Ten to make this happen already befuddles me.

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Home Court Advantage: Michigan State, because they made it to the Final Four in 1999!

By 2030, this brand new arena will be so old that the Milwaukee Bucks, as a top-tier pro sports franchise, will need to threaten to leave town unless a new one is built. Still, this venue suits the Big Ten perfectly due to its biggest architectural innovation: this is the first basketball arena that itself has a beer gut.

Home court advantage: Wisconsin

The up-and-coming Grand Rapids metro area finally lands the Big Ten Men’s Tournament thirty years after hosting the Women’s tournament in 2001. At 11,500, it’s the largest arena in West Michigan and is somewhat near Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and Indianapolis. Founder’s Brewery is in Grand Rapids, so I would go to cover the tournament and never make it to a single game.

Home Court Advantage: Beer Enthusiasts

So, there you have it. After this, I’d just rotate it between the Superior Dome and the Corn Palace, but that’s just me.

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