Big Ten tourney off to New York

The Big Ten men's basketball tournament will make a cameo appearance at Madison Square Garden in 2018, but league commissioner Jim Delany said Saturday he doubts it will be a one-time only engagement.

"I think it will be a rotation," Delany told ESPN.com. "That will probably be somebody else's decision, but I think you will see more major events in the Northeast in the next decade. Hopefully this does well, we evaluate and see what happens."

Sports Illustrated earlier reported Saturday the tournament's stop in New York.

The league is so hell-bent on playing in New York, in fact, it is moving the Big Ten tournament up an entire week. The league's champion, once crowned on Selection Sunday, will now be decided a full week ahead of time. To accommodate the schedule, the league likely will begin conference play in December.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Saturday the Big Ten schools have been working on a scheduling format in order to accommodate pushing up the conference schedule to play the tournament a week earlier.

"We've looked at how we would adjust as well as what, if any, games should be played between the Big Ten and NCAA tournament selections,'' Hollis said. "It's going to be a great experience for our student-athletes and fans to play in Madison Square Garden -- along with some logistical challenges we will have to address.''

The Big Ten had no choice but to make the concession. The Big East is locked in a long-term agreement with the Garden.

Delany admitted it wasn't his basketball coaches' first choice but the conceded the idle time before the NCAA tournament in order to grab the New York venue.

"In a perfect world, they'd rather have it a week later," Delany said. "But they also understand the advantages and are willing to do it."

Since stretching its geography to include Rutgers and Maryland, the Big Ten has made a conscious effort to bring more events to the New York region. Along with New York, the basketball tournament will be played at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center in 2017.

On the football side, the conference last year announced an eight-year deal with the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

And the Big Ten will begin an annual basketball-hockey doubleheader at the Garden. Michigan and Penn State will kick off the afternoon/evening twinbill in January 2016.

Delany knows not everyone will be thrilled to see the league relocate its Midwest roots, even temporarily, but the commissioner is a pragmatist and a businessman first.

Coming East not only allows the Big Ten to stretch its brand, it brings schools closer to some of its deep-pocketed alumni who call the Northeast Corridor home, and keeps coaches marketable in the hot recruiting beds there.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz contributed to this report.