Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Calvin’s Van Noord Arena a Finalist to Host Division III Final Four

D3hoops.com unveiled the NCAA’s list of finalist locations for the 2014-2018 Division III basketball championships (both men’s and women’s), and Calvin’s Van Noord Arena is on both lists. Here’s the link to the story.
Men's basketball:Salem Civic Center (Salem, Va.)
Van Noord Arena (Calvin College campus)

Women's basketball:
Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Van Noord Arena
Salem Civic Center
Mayo Civic Center (Rochester, Minn.)
The D3hoops folks note that The VNA is the smallest of the four locations listed on the women’s side. That makes for a curious list as the women’s Final Four drew in the 1,000-1,300 neighborhood last year when it was hosted at Hope’s DeVos Fieldhouse. Van Noord’s 4,600 capacity (or whatever it really is) would be far larger than anything the women would conceivably need (save a Calvin or Hope Final Four run). Their (i.e. D3hoops / probably Pat Coleman’s) guess, which is a good one, is that we might be headed for a combined men’s/women’s Final Four weekend.

Also on both lists, however, is Salem, Virginia’s Civic Center which has hosted the men’s Final Four quite successfully for what I will lazily describe as ‘several’ years (except last year when they hosted the Elite Eight and Final Four rounds with the championship moving to Atlanta). It would be amazing fun to have the Final Four right in our back yard (almost quite literally for some of us), but I’m betting heavily on the NCAA to go the safe and boring route with Salem. Because the NCAA.

I would bet that Van Noord Arena would draw very well compared to Salem for the men’s Final Four. Just looking at the current Top 15 – a good sample of prennially strong teams – nine are obviously more drivable to Grand Rapids (particularly the CCIW and WIAC schools), two to four are so far away from either that it doesn’t matter, and maybe two or three are obviously closer to Salem. Maybe that means bigger crowds (which makes for a better atmosphere).

Potentially more motivation for the home teams too. Would be a huge boost to play for a title in front of a friendly crowd.

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