In Maryland's 61 years as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC basketball tournament was held in either Maryland or Washington, D.C. four times. That equates to once every 15.25 years. Prior to the event being held at the Verizon Center in 2005, the last time the ACC held the event in Maryland was 1987, 18 years prior.
Today, the Big Ten, Maryland's new home as of July 1, 2014, announced that the Big Ten basketball tournament will be held in Washington D.C. in 2017. Isn't it nice when a conference actually wants you to feel welcome and realizes the potential of holding a marquee event in the Nation's Capital, instead of Greensboro, NC?
What is really interesting about this announcement is that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has made it clear this will not be the last time the event makes an appearance in D.C. in the near future. In an interview with the Washington Post, Delany hints that the event will likely be back in D.C., and potentially in New York, on a somewhat regular basis.
New conference coming up B1G
"I don't know how regular, but we're going to be here on a regular basis," he said. "I don't know if it's every three years or four years or five years or six years, but we're going to get out and we're going to have a presence. We're going to live in two areas."
While Maryland fans are obviously extremely supportive of having the event in D.C. in the near future, many of the other members of the conference, especially those that are within driving distance to Chicago and Indianapolis, the only two places the Big Ten Tournament has previously been held, aren't as thrilled. Looking at the chart below, you can understand why:
As you can see, the only schools benefiting from the B1G in D.C., in terms of distance, are Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers. And the two schools in that group not named Maryland aren't exactly known for being good at basketball.
But here's the thing - they're not moving the event to D.C. permanently; they're talking about having it here or in New York every four of five years. Is it really that big of a deal to have it rotate from Chicago/Indy once every five years? Is that really that much of a hardship on the other B1G school and their fan bases, a lot of which have very large alumni bases in the D.C. and New York markets?
And it's not like D.C. and potentially New York aren't attractive destinations to visit now and then. There is a lot of awesome stuff to do in the D.C. area, as well as up the road in Baltimore. In fact, we'll even put together a nice ‘Welcome to D.C.' guide for all of our new B1G pals, so you can see why visiting here will be awesome. Also, the average high in D.C. in mid-March is 55, with a low of 37. Compare that to 47/32 for Chicago and 49/30 for Indy.
So thank you, Big Ten, for making the new guy feel welcomed, even if a lot of the fans at your current conference schools aren't exactly thrilled about this announcement.