Michigan State AD tries consolidating teams' travel schedules

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis' newest scheduling idea has the Spartans men's and women's basketball teams, in addition to the hockey team, playing within a 24-hour span against Northeastern at Matthews Arena in Boston.

The women's basketball game will tip off on Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tom Izzo and the Spartans will face the Northeastern men's basketball team on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and the hockey teams will play Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

"The teams will watch each other and have meals together," Hollis said. "Then they will all fly back together."

Hollis said the idea was hatched when Northeastern AD Peter Roby, who also is on the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament committee, said his men's basketball team, which made the NCAA tournament last season, was having difficulty finding opponents.

"I told him we'd play them," Hollis said. "Then we talked about it while we were watching games on TV. ... I didn't realize how much history Matthews Arena had. And Boston has so much history."

Matthews Arena opened in 1910. The Boston Bruins played their first regular-season NHL game at the arena, Boston University's hockey team played at Matthews until 1971, and heavyweight boxing champions Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis both had fights in the building.

Hollis and Roby came up with the idea for the three-sport series, which will make its way to East Lansing, Michigan, next year.

Hollis is known for his innovative scheduling ideas. He came up with the plan to play North Carolina in 2011 in the first basketball game on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and also was a pioneer of Michigan State's widely successful men's basketball games in football stadiums.

Hollis has also come up with a 16-team sponsored event in Portland, Oregon, in November 2017 to celebrate Nike president Phil Knight's 80th birthday. He also set up a four-team, three-city barnstorming round-robin event in December 2018 in which Michigan State, Florida, North Carolina and Texas will play one another in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Hollis told ESPN that he's still hopeful he can put together a basketball matchup in Athens, Greece, in 2019 between Michigan State and USC at the site of the first modern Olympic Games.