Report: Early December Conference Games Will Return to the Big Ten in 2018-19

By Dan Smith on January 12, 2018 at 10:40 am
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany during 2017 Big Ten Men's basketball Media Day at Madison Square Garden.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from FanRag college basketball writer Jon Rothstein, the Big Ten will bring early December conference games back for the 2018-19 season.

The decision to adjust the schedule in this manner was controversial at least, if not outright reviled, by fans of Big Ten basketball programs. For these fans, the only saving grace was that it appeared to be a one-off concern due to the early conference tournament being played at Madison Square Garden in New York.

That said, there was always going to be some schedule adjustment once it was announced the conference was moving to 20 game conference schedules next year. Most assumed the schedule would simply start a little earlier, perhaps around Christmas, but it appears commissioner Jim Delany enjoyed the early December matchups that came around in 2017-18.

There are two ways to look at this for Penn State. The bad news is that a program that already struggles mightily to assemble a competitive out-of-conference schedule now has to block out the most appealing week of the non-conference season for conference games. It is yet another obstacle in being able to put together a decent non-conference slate for the lower-tier programs in the conference.

On the other hand, more conference games is good for Penn State. They get two more guaranteed Power 5 games on the schedule every season. When competitive in the conference, that will often be two more chances for quality wins on the resume.

This year's conference tournament begins on Wednesday, February 28 at Madison Square Garden. Penn State is currently tied for eighth in the Big Ten at 2-3.

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