There have been rumors swirling for a couple days now in regards to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. It appears the rumors are true. The conference has announced plans for Washington DC’s Verizon Center to host the event in 2017.
This means for the first time since the tournament’s inception, a city other than Chicago and Indianapolis will play host. Is this really a big deal? No, but it’s not ideal either.
I get it. The B1G is expanding this year by bringing in Rutgers and Maryland. So in a way, DC hosting the tournament makes perfect sense. Moving the event out East is a solid way to involve more fans on that side of the country and it will help to establish the conference in new territory.
But let’s be honest — the Big Ten has no place on the East coast. It’s a Midwest league and the Big Ten Tournament should be a Midwest event. Geographically it makes more sense to keep the event rotating between Chicago and Indy. Way more people are able to drive to the tournament that way and it also keeps in line with tradition. But as we’re seeing more and more, tradition doesn’t play as big of a role in college basketball as it used to.
The B1G tourney going out East for a year every now and then is not that big of a deal as long as it just stays as part of the rotation.
For fans in the ‘classic’ Big Ten region the DC trip will amount to a plane ride and a possible site-seeing trip. Some will like the concept, others will hate it. The B1G doesn’t need DC, but it’s a smart business move. Most college fans will always take a good move for tradition over a good business move, but that’s clearly besides the point in this day and age.