In this edition of the Writing Illini roundtable, the staff takes a look at Big Ten basketball and the conference moving its conference tournament to the East Coast. The staff begs to ask the question: Is an East Coast tournament good for the Big Ten?
Writing Illini welcomes in Barry Leonard Jr. from the Fansided Penn State site, Victory Bell Rings.
Ricky: I know that sports (especially college) is all about making money. With that being said, an East Coast tournament looks like a good thing for the Big Ten. However, it’s a terrible idea for the Big Ten to move to the East Coast. I’ll say now. I’m biased because I live in Chicago, but there is nothing better than having the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center. The Verizon Center is a good arena, but it doesn’t hold its own to the history behind the UC. Playing and watching a basketball game at the UC is a special thing, and player get to step onto the court that MJ made famous. Yes, Rutgers and Maryland joined the conference, but the Big Ten is still a Midwest conference. We are the Big Ten…not the Big East.
Ryan: Adding another venue in to the mix isn’t a bad thing. It will get extra exposure into a new market, and should help drive attendance and revenue higher because it’s something new. No matter how you slice it, that’s a good thing for the conference.
Do I like it as a fan? Sure, if only because it will give me a chance to take my family to D.C. for their first trip to the nation’s capital for some sightseeing before watching the Illini take the court in a non-standard environment. That said, I wouldn’t want to see it there every year by any means, so I hope the plan is to add it to a rotating mix of venues that will still include the United Center in Chicago and Banker’s Life Fieldhouse (or whatever flavor of the day they decide on for a name next) in Indianapolis.
It’s only right that the league recognizes its new members by playing the tournament out East every third year, while never losing sight of the fact that it’s geographical footprint is still firmly in the Midwest by keeping the tournament closer to the center the other 2 years.
Austin: NO. NO NO NO NO NO. I don’t care if the Big Ten has an office on the east coast now, or that we added two teams from further east. This conference in solidly a Midwest conference, and all the teams from the Midwest are going to have a harder time to get to Washington DC and New York to see their teams play. You think a bunch of Nebraska fans can make it half was across the country for a tournament? That was the joy of Indianapolis. It was centrally located for most teams. Please, Big Ten, don’t make this an annual thing.
Barry: I do think that an East Coast tournament will be good for the Big Ten. As a Penn State writer, I’m biased, but it really does make sense. With the likes of Rutgers and Maryland joining the conference, a tournament in the Verizon Center will likely draw a large crowd. Conferences are all about expanding and making money- something that moving from the Mid-West to the East will help to do for the Big Ten.
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer, co-editor Ryan Kraemer, and staff writer, Austin Jabs.