According to CBS Sports and Fanrag Sports Network writer Jon Rothstein, the Big Ten basketball coaches have voted in favor of expanding the league schedule from 18 to 20 games starting with the 2018-19 season.
Buzz about a shift to 20 league games had been circulating for a while and the Big Ten appears to be following in the footsteps of the ACC, which announced it would be expanding to 20 games in the 2019-20 season.
Knowing it was likely coming, Nebraska coach Tim Miles addressed the potential 20-game league schedule back in August when he discussed the release of the 2017-18 Big Ten schedule.
“To me, if we do that, something’s got to give,” Miles said. “You’ve still got the Gavitt Games, you’ve got to look at which tournaments you play in. We’ve tried to put Nebraska on a larger platform nationally, so I agreed to play and contacted ESPN and recruited them to get us into their events. The Anaheim one last year was very good for us with UCLA, Dayton, Virginia Tech and this one [The Advocate Invitational in Orlando, Florida] will be a very big event, but we’ve also played in Diamondhead and Charleston. It’s allowed us to really do some things. I think if that happens, you’ll have to look at the total context of your schedule and make some decisions from that.”
One of the reasons behind the move is to improve schedules and reduce the number of games against lower-tier teams, but I wrote back when the rumor first started to gain some serious legs that the league games would more likely replace nonconference games against good teams than they would games against low-major foes.
In addition to the Gavitt Games (St. John’s) and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (Boston College), two conference-organized games, and the Advocare Invitational, Nebraska will also play nonconference games against Creighton and Kansas. The other five games are against mid-to-low-major teams.
Nebraska opens the season on Nov. 11 at home against Eastern Illinois. Nebraska will play two early Big Ten games against Michigan State (Dec. 3) and Minnesota (Dec. 5) before finishing up the nonconference slate with three more home games. The main portion of the Big Ten schedule begins on Jan. 2 at Northwestern.