Interesting bit of news on the basketball front -- for the Big Ten -- yesterday. According to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, the Big Ten (home of some team from New Jersey that doesn't even play basketball, really) will be hosting its 2018 basketball tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden. Before you get all panicky that the Midwest-based league pulled the unthinkable here and ousted the Big East... nope. They're just holding theirs the week before, when all of the low-major conferences hold their respective tournaments. Several things here:
- The Big Ten Basketball Tournament will wrap up a WEEK before the other major conferences' tourneys do. That could hurt both its teams' momentum/preparation, and their case for better seeding. Like it or not, immediacy bias is always a factor. And the Big Ten's programs will be in the rear-view compared to other major conferences, who just completed their respective tournaments the day prior to Selection Sunday.
- The Big East still hosts its own conference tournament at MSG during its typical days (in the heart of Championship Week).
- The ACC, if you forgot, will be hosting its own tournament at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in both 2017 and 2018.
- Holy crap, what a two-week stretch of hoops for New York City in 2018...
Now the angle for the Big Ten here is simple. League commissioner Jim Delany loves the idea of his conference being in New York City. So much so, that he'll take lesser alternatives to say he has a foot in the door. That habit started with the State University of New Jersey and the false beliefs that a) anyone cares about that school and b) it delivers New York City in any way.
This move rings similarly.
Since he can't get into MSG or Barclays during Championship Week that year, he believes himself to be one-upping the ACC by getting into MSG a week early. But he's also risking irrelevancy for his conference tournament as another league (the Big East) holds their tournament there the following week, while the ACC concurrently holds its own in Brooklyn. Again, immediacy bias. The B1G will get to own the college basketball headlines alone in New York for a a few days, but as it gets closer to Selection Sunday, the focus will shift toward teams actually playing during Championship Week.
So is this a smart/savvy move by the B1G? Or simply a case of them jumping at a chance to say something about themselves in New York after other conferences already have? It's debatable, really, and unfortunately we won't get a full read on its benefits/drawbacks until after it all goes down. The ACC will have already been in New York (Brooklyn) the year before, and the Big East's agreement with the Garden seems about as ironclad as it gets. BUT, the Big Ten IS still playing at MSG before the ACC is. The verdict on it being a week early -- again -- needs to wait until that Championship Week wraps up and we take a hard look at how lost (or not) the Big Ten was in its rush to pull a real-life comments section "FIRST!"
Thoughts? Disappointed? Don't care? Curious what the general feelings are about this one, especially for an Orange fan base that typically calls MSG its home-away-from-home.