Big Ten Tournament to move to Indianapolis from Chicago: report
A month after the NCAA announced the full Men’s basketball tournament would be held in Indiana, it looks like the Big Ten Tournament is heading there as well.
A Thursday morning report from Anthony Calhoun, the same Indianapolis-based athletic director who broke the news last month, cited a source who said the Big Ten was moving their postseason event to Indianapolis. It was originally scheduled in Chicago, starting on March 10 and culminating with the championship on March 14, the same day the NCAA tournament field is announced.
Calhoun has been informed that the games will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, which will host games throughout the NCAA tournament, including the Final Four.
The NCAA decided it was better, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to have its flagship event in one location rather than at venues across the country. Indianapolis will take center stage in March, with Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Indiana Farmers Coliseum hosting games. The games will also take place at the Indiana (Assembly Hall in Bloomington) and Purdue (Mackey Arena in West Lafayette) campuses.
In all but two cases, the Big Ten tournament has been held in Chicago or Indianapolis since its inception in 1998. Last year’s abridged tournament was held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. While this year’s one was scheduled for the United Center, the Big Ten are apparently aiming for consistency with the NCAA tournament – and therefore less travel for teams that qualify.
A Big Ten spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the potential venue change.
There is also the issue of compression in postponed regular season games. Michigan, for example, currently has four to catch up, plus a fifth if on Feb.11 Illinois game postponed as scheduled. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo recently said that policymakers discussed the viability of conference tournaments this season.
Michigan and the State of Michigan have won the last four Big Ten tournaments completed. The Spartans won in 2016 and 2019; the Wolverines took turns in 2017 and 2018, when the event first moved to the East Coast.
This season Michigan is alone atop the Big Ten with an 8-1 conference record. Michigan State, at 2-7, is second from the bottom of the league at 14 teams.