Michigan State basketball’s game against North Carolina on November 11, 2011 was special for a couple reasons. For starters, the game was played on the USS Vinson in San Diego, California. It was a great display of patriotism by both schools and was a perfect way to salute the armed forces. In a basketball sense, it wasn’t extremely successful for Michigan State, but the night was big for both school’s images. Following this successful endeavor, athletic director Mark Hollis, has stated he would like the team to play a game at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This is yet another opportunity for Michigan State basketball to expand their brand and get even more exposure.
The game at Pearl Harbor would be another genius move by Hollis. From the Carrier Classic to getting pro-combat Nike football uniforms, Hollis has really improved Michigan State athletics as a national brand. This game would be no different. This game would be on a huge national stage, providing enormous national exposure for Michigan State basketball. Everyone who is a college basketball fan would tune in to see this game. Also, if Michigan State basketball continues to schedule these types of games it will only make the university more enticing to recruits. What 18-year-old kid doesn’t want to go to Hawaii, California, or Germany? Recruits see Michigan State basketball and know they will play exciting marquee games on a national stage. The Pearl Harbor game would also give the Spartans a game against a quality top-tier team on a neutral site. The importance of that cannot be
understated. Yes, Coach Izzo would like to play a program like Duke University at home. Realistically, the top programs don’t want to go on the road for non-conference games. So this is a good compromise. Not only do the Spartans get a great matchup, but they also don’t have to play in a hostile road environment. With Izzo’s notoriously hard non-conference schedule, the Spartans don’t need anymore tough road games. There aren’t many negatives to taking the game. A few potential negatives include extreme travel, the fact it isn’t a sure win, and the money involved. Still, all these negatives seem minuscule to the amount of exposure the game would bring the program.
Mark Hollis’s suggestion that Michigan State basketball would be interested in a game at Pearl Harbor should excite fans and possible recruits. It’s a classy move that would only serve to increase knowledge of Michigan State basketball. If the logistics of the game can be figured out, it would be a great opportunity for Michigan State basketball to grow as a program and brand.