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Michigan State AD Considered 2010-11 Big Ten Home Opener In Los Angeles

Opening the Big Ten basketball season at a neutral site? According to AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein, Michigan State considered doing so last year.

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis mulled over the possibility of playing their conference home opener versus Minnesota at the Staples Center in Los Angeles if the Spartans football team had played in the Rose Bowl.

"We looked at Staples Center," Hollis said. "And talked to (Lakers Executive Vice President) Jeanie Buss."

Michigan State opened Big Ten play on New Year's Eve at the Breslin Center. But the date would've coincided nicely with a big football game played the next day, and plenty of Michigan State fans already in the area.

Alas, it wasn't to be as the BCS chose Wisconsin to play in the Rose Bowl, relegating MSU to the Capital One Bowl. So the Spartans men's basketball team stayed in East Lansing.

The larger point is that Hollis was trying to figure out a way to maximize revenue for MSU's Big Ten home opener, which doesn't usually draw many students because they're home for the holidays. It's a problem the entire conference is dealing with. Even if relatively good crowds show up, as they did for Michigan's first two Big Ten home games, the absence of students affects the energy in the building.

That's why athletic directors are looking at moving the start of the Big Ten season up. Why not play some conference games during the dead period between the end of the football schedule and the beginning of the bowl season?

Regardless of what the Big Ten ultimately decide, beginning the conference season earlier won't happen this coming season because most schools have already made out their non-conference schedules.