This season, the Big Ten tournament will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time. In order to make that happen without bumping into the Big East, Delany and the conference agreed to push their tournament up a week. This season, teams will begin play on Feb. 28, with the championship on March 4.
In doing so, the league tightened teams' schedules. The Huskers will conclude their 2017-18 campaign at home on Sunday against Penn State in a game that would have marked their third-to-last game a season ago.
The Huskers played eight games in the month of January last season and seven games in the month of February, with no one-day preps. This year, Nebraska played 10 times in the month of January with only six games in February, with two one-day prep games. The Huskers also played Michigan State on the road and Minnesota at home over the course of three days in early December.
From The Tribune:
“I appreciate the sacrifices the teams made, the impact it had on our students,” Delany said. “Wasn’t good. Wasn’t healthy. I thought starting (the conference schedule) early was OK, but if you look at our schedules (through the years), we’ve been able to give everybody two-day prep (before games) in 99 percent of the cases.
“We won’t do it again this way, and I take responsibility for asking the coaches. … If we can make it back to the Garden on a regular week, that’s great.
“I know we will be back out East. Where we will be, I don’t know. It won’t be on a regular basis. I expect that 80 percent will be in legacy territory (Chicago and Indianapolis) and probably 20 percent out East, whether it’s in D.C. or Philadelphia or New York.”
Back in 2014, when the decision was announced to move the tournament to New York City, Delany stated that it wouldn't be a one-time thing, rather a rotation, and he said the same to The Tribune, adding that he doesn't regret the tournament relocation.
Delany said in the interview that "about 14,000" tickets have been sold for all sessions during the tournament. Last season in D.C., the tournament only drew an average of 13,281 fans per session, down from 16,722 per session in Indianapolis in 2016 and 16,928 per session in Chicago in 2015.
The Huskers can clinch a No. 4 seed in the tournament and a double-bye with a win over Penn State on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 4:15 p.m. CT at a sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena.