Delany continues to push for the 2018 men’s basketball tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden, with a source telling the Tribune that he is “determined” to make it happen.
School officials are concerned about increased costs associated with staging the event in the heart of Manhattan. Delany can combat that by selling the event as a one-time chance to promote the new Big Ten (hello, Rutgers and Maryland) in the nation’s largest media market.
The more intriguing obstacle is this: The Big East already is locked into the “championship week” dates for its men’s basketball tournament, so the Big Ten would need to be flexible, likely moving its tournament up one week.
Big Ten basketball coaches are not happy about that possibility. Would the regular-season schedule have to be condensed, eliminating the semi-bye weeks when teams play only one game? That could affect practice time and have a negative effect on academics and injury recovery. Or would the conference slate begin earlier?
The biggest question: What would Big Ten teams do while fans watch all those conference tournaments? If they’re out of sight, out of mind, would that hurt their NCAA tournament stock – or simply be a negative in terms of recruiting?
Questions linger, but they should be answered soon: On June 3, Delany said he hoped to have an answer on the Madison Square Garden question in “a couple of weeks, not any shorter.”
If the schools ultimately vote against putting their show on Broadway, Chicago or Indianapolis figures to be the fallback. But it’s hard to envision anyone associated with the Big Ten giving Delany a “no” vote – on anything.