Multiple reports on Monday have the Big Ten moving its men's basketball tournament to Washington for the 2017 term.
This news came on the heels of an announcement from the Big Ten that it would hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon at DC's Verizon Center. There and then, it's presumed, the formal announcement for the 2017 Big Ten tourney at the Verizon Center will be made, in addition to any other pertinent matters regarding the Big Ten's expanded geographical imprint on its future.
The 2017 Big Ten tourney will be the conference's 20th in men's basketball. The league's taken nine trips to Indianapolis and eight to Chicago; the next two Big Ten brackets will be held in those spots as well. So this DC move is a big departure. This is a different, newer, wider Big Ten, though. ACC founding member Maryland, and incoming member Rutgers, both officially join the ranks on July 1.
"We don't just want to visit here, we want to live here," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told SI.com. "This was our first opportunity to do that. We think it's a wonderful opportunity for not just Maryland, but for expatriate Big Ten fans living on the East Coast to see great basketball in March."
Delany also said Big Ten fans should expect the tournament to take on a traveling circus feel, which multiple cities getting a crack at hosting duties.
"My expectation is you'll see it moving among and between venues in the Midwest and Northeast," he said. "You've got to figure out a pattern. I expect that over the next 10 years you're going to see us in both regions of the country."
What will be interesting to track: the Verizon Center as a hub for postseason basketball. The area's hosted the NCAA Tournament plenty, but in regard to league tournaments, the building could become an option for the A-10 as well as the Big Ten. The Atlantic 10 is now splitting up years for its tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., so the Verizon Center might be a good off-year option for the league -- when the bigger-league Big Ten isn't due to show.
“We're very excited the Big Ten Conference has selected our nation's capital as the site for the 2017 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament,” Maryland AD Kevin Anderson said. “This is yet another example of the Big Ten's commitment to our region and provides fans of Maryland and all conference teams on the East Coast easier access to enjoy this outstanding event.”