Capitol Gains: Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament Headed To DC For '17 Event
The Big Ten is expected to announce today that it will hold its '17 men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center in DC, marking the "first time the event, which began in 1998, will be played outside of Indianapolis or Chicago," according to Stewart Mandel of SI.com. The '15 event will be played at the United Center and the '16 tourney at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. No sites "have been set" beyond '17, but Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "indicated the event will start moving around more frequently." Delany said, "My expectation is you'll see it moving among and between venues in the Midwest and Northeast. You've got to figure out a pattern. I expect that over the next 10 years you're going to see us in both regions of the country" (SI.com, 5/5). Delany added, "We’re trying to live in two areas, not just visit two areas, and we thought that by getting out at the first opportunity it reinforces that situation. It won’t be the last time, because we expect to have events in both regions, and our goal is to bind the two regions together into one conference" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/6). Delany, noting Rutgers Univ. and the Univ. of Maryland's entrance into the conference on July 1, said, “It will be very crystal clear that we are committed to competing and building friendships and becoming relevant in this part of the country as well as in the Midwest. It's a process" (BTN.com, 5/5). CBSSPORTS.com's Matt Norlander noted the Atlantic 10 now is "splitting up years for its tournament" at Barclays Center, so the Verizon Center "might be a good off-year option for the league -- when the bigger-league Big Ten isn't due to show" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/5). In Cleveland, Doug Lesmerises writes it "wouldn't be a shock" to see Delany "try to get the Big Ten's events into Manhattan, Brooklyn, or at least Newark, at some point." The event going to DC might also "open up the chance for Cleveland," and should "at least keep hope alive for Dallas as a host if Texas ever joins the Big Ten" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/6).
AT THE JUMP: In DC, Alex Prewitt noted the Big Ten yesterday announced the creation of the Dave Gavitt Tipoff Games, which pits its teams against those from the Big East. Though the matchups "will be decided based on relative competitive strength and not geographical location, the partnership nonetheless opens the door for Maryland to play Georgetown, a local rivalry that has not occurred since 2008 because of spats between the two athletic departments." After Georgetown "rebuffed Maryland’s efforts to reestablish a home-and-home men’s basketball series two years ago," UM AD Kevin Anderson "decided against scheduling Georgetown in any other sport until the situation was resolved" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 5/5). In Providence, Kevin MacNamara writes the new series is a "coup for the Big East." Having a friend in Delany "can only help," and with the college sports world "rapidly moving toward a model dominated by the Big Five major college football leagues, Delany may be the chief power broker." Now sitting on "piles of cash, Delany is pushing for a college sports future with more games on TV, and football and basketball players getting stipends." Delany "sees a place for non-football conferences such as the Big East in the future landscape." Delany: "I don't cut anybody in or cut anybody out. That's not what I do. What we do is compete and play" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 5/6).