After condensing its regular-season basketball schedule this year in order to play the conference tournament one week earlier at Madison Square Garden, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune on Friday that the league will not do that again in the future.
While Delany expressed interest in holding the tournament in New York City again in the future, and said the conference will still occasionally hold its tournament on the East Coast, Delany told Greenstein that the Big Ten will return to holding its conference tournament on the final weekend leading up to Selection Sunday – when the Big East has held its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden since 1983.
“I appreciate the sacrifices the teams made, the impact it had on our students,” Delany said. “Wasn’t good. Wasn’t healthy. I thought starting (the conference schedule) early was OK, but if you look at our schedules (through the years), we’ve been able to give everybody two-day prep (before games) in 99 percent of the cases.
“We won’t do it again this way, and I take responsibility for asking the coaches. … If we can make it back to the Garden on a regular week, that’s great.
“I know we will be back out East. Where we will be, I don’t know. It won’t be on a regular basis. I expect that 80 percent will be in legacy territory (Chicago and Indianapolis) and probably 20 percent out East, whether it’s in D.C. or Philadelphia or New York.”
As a result of holding the Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden next week instead of the week after, the conference has had to squeeze more games into a smaller time frame over the past two months, which has led to shorter rest between games – a side effect that coaches throughout the conference have expressed concerns with.
The earlier conference tournament also means that the Big Ten teams who make the NCAA Tournament could go as many as two weeks between playing games, which will give conference teams extended rest but also forces teams to find creative ways to avoid getting rusty between games.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann has been among those who have expressed their concerns about the effects of the condensed regular-season schedule as the Buckeyes get set to play their final regular-season game Friday against Indiana before moving into postseason play next week.
"I'd have to really search far and wide to figure out a whole lot of positives," Holtmann said earlier this week on his radio show when asked if there were any positives to the condensed schedule.