McCaffery gives thumbs-up to Big Ten's Big Apple move

Rick Brown

IOWA CITY, Ia. – The Big Ten's East Coast footprint grew bigger Tuesday when the conference announced it would hold the 2018 men's postseason basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

This comes on the heels of the league's May announcement that it would play the 2017 event at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The tournament will also remain a Midwest staple, taking place in Chicago in 2015, 2019 and 2021 and Indianapolis in 2016, 2020 and 2022.

"I think it's terrific," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Tuesday. "The idea that we have it on a rotating basis, with D.C. and New York, is fabulous. It's great for our fans. We have a lot of alumni and fans in the East that don't get to as many games as they'd like. And now we're bringing our teams there."

Bringing the 2018 Big Ten Tournament to Madison Square Garden, where Iowa has played in two of the last three seasons, includes one wrinkle.

The tournament will be held Feb. 28-March 4, a week before the NCAA selection show. It is being played a week earlier than normal because the Big East has Madison Square Garden under contract for its postseason tournament.

"I think it will be interesting to see, moving it up a week, how we like that, or if we like that," McCaffery said. "That's how it was in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference when I coached at Siena (before Iowa). We finished on a Monday and the bids came out the following Sunday. So you had a few more days to get ready. You could prepare by resting some guys, do a lot of shooting, stay in shape and work on some things. ... I think it's nothing but positive."