The Big Ten basketball tournament will start Wednesday, a week earlier than any other Power 5 tournament. The Big Ten wanted its annual tourney at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2018, but the conference had to avoid overlapping with the Big East.
To make room for the early tournament, Big Ten basketball teams played condensed schedules in the 2017-18 season. The Big Ten started its conference season early, having each team play two league games in December. But teams were still taking the court more frequently than past years during the season.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was not pleased with how the schedule worked out. Delany told the Chicago Tribune that the compressed schedule “wasn’t healthy” for players and that it won’t happen again for the conference.
“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.”
Delany also mentioned he would like to have 20 percent of Big Ten tournaments on the East Coast. The tournament was in Washington, D.C., last year. He mentioned Philadelphia as a possible future location.