And now for the biggest, or at least most intriguing, bit of basketball-related news to emerge from the Big Ten spring meetings: The B1G is considering moving its early-season conference games -- which usually begin just after Jan. 1 -- up the calendar into December.
The hope, according to Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, is to find a way to make the December hoops doldrums something more engaging and worth following for the swath of college football fans stuck with too much pre-bowl downtime. From AnnArbor.com:
Playing earlier conference games could increase exposure for Big Ten basketball in a dead period between football conference championship games and the start of the almost month-long bowl season. “That’s what they are looking at,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said Wednesday at the Big Ten spring meetings. “How do you take things out of the bowl window and move them around a little bit?”
As any college sports fan knows, Decembers are sort of a bummer. Students leave campus for winter vacation. Bowl teams wait a month or more for their final game of the season. Hoops teams frequently schedule guarantee games against lowly opponents rather than meet a worthy foe without the help home court gusto from students and otherwise-occupied fans. With the exception of a few holiday tournaments and the like, it's a pretty dead month.
College basketball doesn't need dead months. It's already fighting an uphill battle against the exposure and popularity of the NFL, NBA and college football; leaving a window in the heart of the season doesn't seem like a very good idea. If this puts more entertaining basketball on the docket during December, well, full speed ahead.