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-- A #MotorCityMadness Special Edition By Joey Yashinsky

According to the calendar, Motor City Madness will be winding down next Tuesday, March 7.  But in reality, the party will be just getting started.

To kick off the final day of festivities in Detroit, the Horizon League will host its first Champions Brunch, a chance for fans to rub shoulders with a collection of greats from across the basketball landscape.  A full breakfast will be served while the star-studded panel talks about some of their unique experiences in the game.  Fans also will get the opportunity to participate in a Q & A following the panel’s opening remarks.  The Champions Brunch is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the International Bancard Olympia Club inside Joe Louis Arena.

Kelley Deyo, a national champion at Notre Dame in 2001 and now an analyst with ESPN, will serve as moderator for the event.  She’ll also be providing commentary for ESPN throughout the tournament.

Also in attendance will be a pair of Detroit hoops legends. Rick Mahorn was one of the original “Bad Boys” and helped the Pistons to an NBA title in 1989.  Cheryl Ford captured three WNBA championship rings as a starting power forward for the Detroit Shock.

Julie Roe Lach, Deputy Commissioner of the Horizon League, is excited to see the Detroit duo back together on stage.

“It really worked out so well that Cheryl and Rick agreed to join us.  She played for Rick when he was coaching with the Shock, so the dynamic between the two of them is going to be really fun and something the fans will enjoy.”

Rounding out the panel will be Mary Ellen Gillespie, the Director of Athletics at Green Bay.  Roe Lach says fans can look forward to hearing about a variety of experiences Gillespie has had throughout her career.

“There are just a small number of females that have made it to that ‘Division I Athletic Director’ seat.  Mary Ellen is one of them.  And what’s really interesting is that she also serves on the Women’s NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.  She is right in the room, developing the bracket that we all see on Selection Sunday; we’re hoping she’ll be able to share some insights and nuggets into how that process works.”

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will start play on Friday, March 3 at Joe Louis Arena.  They’ll whittle the brackets all the way down to two finalists on each side, setting the stage for both title clashes to coincide with the Champions Brunch on Tuesday.

“This brunch is the first of its kind for the Horizon League,” said Roe Lach.  “We wanted to do something unique to bring people in; not just to attend the women’s final at noon, but also be part of something special that morning. We thought it would be a fun draw for the local Detroit business community; they might want to take a few hours away from work, come have a nice, hot breakfast, get to hear from four basketball stars, and go watch some incredible women’s hoops.”

Tickets for the Champions Brunch are $25, and it includes admission to both title contests taking place that day.  The women’s game will start at noon, while the men are set for a 7 p.m. tip.  For those fans already in possession of game tickets, the cost for the Champions Brunch is reduced to $15.

It’s not every day that such an esteemed group of basketball luminaries find themselves in the same place at the same time.  Fans in attendance will have the unique opportunity to not only hear from this panel full of champions; but to engage, pose questions, and be made to feel like a real part of the action.

Add in a pair of top-quality championship battles to follow, and it’s a day of Horizon League entertainment not to be missed.

For tickets, please visit ticketmaster.com

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