New York York – The Big Ten will be moving to a 20-game conference slate for men’s and women’s basketball in 2018-19, the conference announced Thursday at media day at Madison Square Garden.
Previously, the Big Ten men’s hoops teams played 18 games and women’s teams played 16, which will continue for the 2017-18 season.
"We looked at the place of basketball, not only in the Big Ten but nationally, and really came to a conclusion, which we talked with our coaches, talked with our administrators, that we needed to control the number of quality games," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. "We felt we could add quality games in basketball. We felt we could spread out the games a bit, and therefore there would be a couple games in early December we thought we could experiment over time."
The conference’s new format for men’s basketball consists of teams playing seven opponents twice and six teams once (three away and three home). In-state rivalries like Michigan-Michigan State, Indiana-Purdue and Illinois-Northwestern will be played twice annually, per the release.
Regional opponents (likely Minnesota-Wisconsin and Minnesota-Iowa) will also be played more frequently. During a six-year period, regional opponents will play each other 10 times of possible 12 opportunities.
The Gophers only play rival Wisconsin one time twice in the past three seasons, including only in Madison this season.