Everything is better with a little MSG. Apparently that includes the Big Ten.
MSG, in this case, means Madison Square Garden, the world-famous arena in New York. On Tuesday, the Big Tens eastward push continued with the announcement that the conference has entered into a multi-year partnership with Madison Square Garden.
And Penn State, the leagues flagship Eastern program, is well square in the middle of it.
In 2018, the Big Ten Mens Basketball Tournament will be played at MSG. Also, from 2016-19, the conference will stage hockey-basketball doubleheaders at the arena.
The first doubleheader will be held Jan. 30, 2016, and feature a hockey game between Michigan and Penn State followed by a basketball game between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions.
This came as welcome news to the coaches of the respective PSU teams.
Any chance we have to showcase Penn State and the Big Ten in the northeast corridor, not to mention in one of the most historic venues in the world, is a tremendous opportunity, Lion basketball coach Pat Chambers said. We are looking forward to taking part in the first conference basketball and hockey doubleheader next year and kicking off the presence of Big Ten basketball leading up to the tournament in 2018.
“Any chance we have to showcase Penn State and the Big Ten in the northeast corridor, not to mention in one of the most historic venues in the world, is a tremendous opportunity.”
Added PSU hockey coach Guy Gadowsky: This is a tremendous opportunity for our program and the conference to bring great college hockey to Madison Square Garden. We had a great experience this past November against Cornell (at MSG) and were thrilled to be a part of the first Big Ten doubleheader at MSG.
PSU hockey dropped a 3-1 decision to Cornell in The Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden Nov. 29. A crowd of 15,027 watched the game.
Chambers, a former assistant at Villanova, was part of six Wildcat teams that played in the Big East Tournament at MSG.
I know there is nothing like it, he said. The Big Ten tournament is always a fantastic event, no matter where it is, but to have it on the East Coast two years in a row and in that setting is a great opportunity for Penn State basketball.
This continues the Big Tens push into the East, which included the addition of Maryland and Rutgers this year. Also, the 2017 Big Ten Mens Basketball Tournament will be moved out of the Midwest for the first time, as it is being staged at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
PSU has traditionally drawn very few fans to Big Ten Tournaments in Chicago and Indianapolis because the event starts in the middle of the week and those destinations are so far away.