It’s been a busy day for the Big Ten, as earlier Monday, the conference was announced as a participant in the newly-created Gavitt Tipoff Games with the Big East to open the college basketball season beginning in 2015.
Now comes news for the Big Ten’s postseason plans as it was reported by multiple outlets on Monday afternoon that the Big Ten Tournament would move to Washington D.C.
The Big Ten’s move to our nation’s capital for the league tournament was first reported by Justin Albers of Scout.com and also confirmed to be at the Verizon Center on March 8-12, 2017 by the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson confirmed to Prewitt the Big Ten’s plans to move to the home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals for the 2017 edition of the league’s men’s basketball tournament.
A 1 p.m. press conference is scheduled at the Verizon Center on Tuesday that features Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney as well as Anderson and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.
“We’re excited the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will be played at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.,” Anderson said to Prewitt. “The Big Ten has shared its commitment to having a strong presence on the East Coast. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to attend the tournament in our backyard and it should be a tremendous atmosphere.”
The Big Ten has only played it’s men’s basketball conference tournament at Chicago’s United Center and Indianapolis’ Banker’s Life Fieldhouse since the event began in 1998 and it wouldn’t be any surprise if Washington D.C. was permanently alternated into the equation to continue to conference’s growth on the East Coast. With Maryland and Rutgers joining the league in 2014-15, the Big Ten will have a growing East Coast presence to go along with current member Penn State.
The Big Ten is also putting new offices in New York — to go along with headquarters in Chicago — and is also opening a satellite office in Washington D.C.
The Verizon Center will also host the ACC Tournament in 2016.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: