D.C. Big Ten Tournament just the latest step in conference's East Coast plans

Jim Delany says the Big Ten has big plans for the East Coast in the near future.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and Terrapin men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media Tuesday afternoon at the Verizon Center, officially announcing the Big Ten's widely reported plan to hold the men's basketball conference tournament at the venue in 2017.

Delany began his statement by citing an astonishing statistic -- 25% of US households are now under the Big Ten blanket, showing the importance of the conference's acquisitions of Maryland and Rutgers (both in major TV markets).

The commissioner said "literally hundreds of hours" have been spent on integrating the new East Coast acquisitions into the Big Ten (and vice versa).

"There's been a lot of public activity, but there's been more private activity," he said.
"[We've been] working hand-in-hand to make this transition a successful one on July 1. There's more work to do, but a lot of work has been done."

The commissioner spoke often about the conference's goal to simultaneously exist in the Midwest and East Coast region, saying "we've come here not to visit, but to live."

"At the time that Maryland came in, we set, I think, an aggressive goal to live in two regions of the country," Delany said. "And we've been working awful hard over the last 18 months to turn words into actions."

Stop complaining, Midwest fans

Mark Turgeon echoed Delany's statements, applauding the commissioner for his quick actions on behalf of the school -- since the move has been announced, the conference has added long-time local rival Johns Hopkins in lacrosse, given Maryland a home primetime game under the lights in football, matched the Terps with Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, announced a new series with the Big East that could see the Maryland-Georgetown rivalry start again as well as announcing the move of the conference tournament.

"Obviously, we're excited about today," Turgeon said. "When we first met with Jim, he said we were going to have a face on the East Coast, and a lot of times it's lip service when you're joining a league, and he came through as quickly as he could come through."

Turgeon also countered the notion that he was not a fan of the conference move, instead saying his hesitation stemmed from the awkwardness (and, fans will tell you, apparent mistreatment) that Maryland saw in their final years in the ACC.

"I'm extremely excited about the Big Ten, and people have this feeling that I wasn't excited about the Big Ten," he said. "What I wasn't excited about was being a part of the ACC for the last two years without really being a part of it."

In terms of the future, Delany said he has big plans for the region -- alternating big events like the men's basketball tournament between the East Coast and the Midwest (although he said the precise ratio is still unclear) as well as completely integrating the Big Ten Network throughout the East Coast over the coming the months.

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