Off the heels of the announcement of the Big Ten-Big East Tipoff Challenge, the Big Ten announced today that the 2017 Big Ten men's basketball tournament will take place at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Says Delany:
"We don't just want to visit here, we want to live here," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said of the Northeast. "This was our first opportunity to do that. We think it's a wonderful opportunity for not just Maryland, but for expatriate Big Ten fans living on the East Coast to see great basketball in March."
Who it is not a great opportunity for -- the tens of thousands of Big Ten alumni and students who live fairly close to what used to be the geographic center of the conference. While some concessions have to made to Rutgers and Maryland (and even Penn State for that matter), it's a shame to see what would normally be a 3-4 hour trip for Michigan State students turn into about a 9 hour one.
While it's nice to get some geographic diversity into the tournament, I wish they would've chosen play in Detroit, Milwaukee, or even Pittsburgh before it went too far east. Delany once again:
"My expectation is you'll see it moving among and between venues in the Midwest and Northeast," he said. "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."
Hopefully it's the Midwest more often than not. Otherwise I fear a status quo where New York and D.C. get the tournament as often as Chicago and Indy.