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Report: Big Ten tournament coming to Madison Square Garden in 2018

When the 2017 Big Ten tournament was awarded to the Verizon Center last year, many speculated that the next season we’d see the tournament head to the largest city in the Big Ten’s footprint — New York City.

It appears as if the speculation is about to become reality, as SI.com’s Pete Thamel reported that the conference is set to announce the 2018 tournament is coming to the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

No one should be shocked to hear that this is more than mere speculation and soon to be reality. After all, the conference has a satellite office in New York City and has identified an East Coast presence as important to the future of the Big Ten.

It also plants the flag in an arena that made the Big East famous, while also making sure to get the eyeballs of the millions of people in the city on the B1G logo. Oh, and it’s a thumb in the eye to the ACC, who will have its tournament visiting the Barclay’s Center in 2017 and 18.

Nothing like a little direct competition to showcase your conference at the arena many of the now ACC members once made famous as Big East members.

You can bet commissioner Jim Delany will herald this move when he announces it for real on Tuesday, according to the SI.com report.

What will be different for the Big Ten is the timing of this tournament, as the Big East tournament is also scheduled for MSG that season. Thamel is reporting it means moving the tournament up a week, and thusly an 11-day waiting period between the championship game and the start of the NCAA tournament.

Gone that year will be the traditional Big Ten championship game followed by the NCAA tournament selection show on selection Sunday.

It’s just another tradition gone in a conference desperate to add even more money to its coffers at whatever cost.

Should the tournament be a hit in the Big Apple it will be worth it, but if the event struggles to sell out or is less fan-friendly than it is today this could be a major issue.

Is it really worth moving the traditional dates, plus the traditional base for the tournament all just to say “we’re playing in Madison Square Garden?”

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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