INDIANAPOLIS – The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday that the men’s basketball tournament was moving from Chicago to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, home to this year’s Final Four.
The tournament will be played just blocks from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse from March 10-14, which will host the women’s tournament that same week. Big Ten officials see the benefits of Indianapolis as a tournament venue, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s walk-in hotels and restaurants, nearby venues, and skywalks network provide a better way to keep players, coaches, and staff healthy.
“Having the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in the same city allows for coherent testing and medical protocols for both events, as well as centralized accommodation around the venues.” said the Big Ten. It was said the league plans to return to Chicago in 2023.
It’s going to be a busy time for Indianapolis.
The Horizon League should already be using the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the state fairgrounds to host the conclusion of the men’s and women’s tournaments from March 8th to 9th, but then things really get going.
Local leaders have spent two months tending to the NCAA, which announced last month that all 67 tournament games for men will be played in Indianapolis and the surrounding communities.
The Coliseum, Lucas Oil Stadium, the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and WNBA’s Indiana Fever, will host most of the games. The Indiana University Congregation Hall and Mackey Arena in Purdue, both about an hour from downtown Indy, are scheduled to host the other games.
The Big Ten tournament train was expected.
“I think it makes sense” Indiana trainer Archie Miller said recently. “It’s convenient for the teams that are moving on (to the NCAA tournament), and I think Indianapolis, where it’s all going to take place, would make sense if that happened.”
Indianapolis also hosted last year’s Big Ten tournament, and the pandemic cut it when Michigan and Rutgers warmed up for the first of four games.
Now the Big Ten are returning to a city that hosted 11 of the league’s previous 23 men’s tournaments and 23 of the league’s 26 women’s tournaments, despite the fact that this is linked to two new folds. It’s the first time the men have played in a non-NBA stadium and it’s the first time both tournaments are held in the same city in the same week.
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