No protected rivals, geography for B1G hoops
League will have 5 double-plays and 8 single-plays starting with 14-team league next year
IOWA CITY -- With the Big Ten expanding to 14 teams next year, its basketball squads will play each other less frequently in the future.
Mark Rudner, the Big Ten's senior associate commissioner for television administration, said the league will continue scheduling 18 games, but the format shifts to five double-plays and eight single-plays each year. It will be a true rotation without protected rivals or preference to geography.
Currently, Big Ten squads have seven double-plays and four single-plays that rotate every two years.
"The way we envision it is that you’re playing five teams home and away in 2015," said Rudner, who handles Big Ten scheduling. "In 2016, you’ll play five different teams home and away. Then in 2017, the other three teams that you haven’t played home and away, you’ll play home-and-away, plus two other teams from 2015 that you played home and away."
That means every school will play every team at least once. But only five times over a 13-year period will teams meet twice during the regular season.
Rudner said there was no push to protect instate rivalries, such as Purdue-Indiana or Michigan-Michigan State, to play twice annually. Also, there was no real interest for an unbalanced schedule where regional rivalries like Iowa-Wisconsin or Michigan-Ohio State would play more often than other series.
"That’s not been the direction our athletics administrators have directed us at," Rudner said.
The new rotation changes the previous course where teams schools complete a two-year cycle as single-plays. Iowa, for instance, played host to Nebraska earlier this year but did not return to Lincoln. Under the 12-team format, Iowa would play a single game at Nebraska next year. Rudner said the coaches were in favor of moving from return trips."Competitively, that came up to luck of the draw of who you got as a single-play and who you got as a double-play," Rudner said.