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What McCaffery thinks of possible Big Ten changes

[ 0 ] April 30, 2013 |

BOONE, Ia. – Iowa coach Fran McCaffery  doesn’t think the Big Ten will go to a division format for basketball.

“I’m not emotional about it one way or another, but I don’t think it’s going to happen,”  said McCaffery, the featured speaker Tuesday at the Boone-Story County I-Club spring banquet.

The league announced realignment for football on Sunday, with two seven-team divisions starting in 2014 and a nine-game league schedule starting in 2016. The changes came about because of the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten in the 2014-15 school year.

McCaffery, who coached Iowa to a 25-13 record and a 9-9 Big Ten finish, good for sixth place, thinks the league will stay at 18 league games.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery talked Big Ten realignment Tuesday in Boone. (USA TODAY Sports photo)

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery talked Big Ten realignment Tuesday in Boone. (USA TODAY Sports photo)

“It’s certainly not going to be less,” said McCaffery, heading into his fourth season at Iowa. “There’s still a possibility it could be more. But I think it will stay at 18.”

The division concept and the number of league games are among the issues that will be discussed by coaches at the Big Ten meetings next month. Two BCS conferences, the SEC and Big East, experimented with division play in basketball but scrapped the idea.

McCaffery acknowledged that 14 teams playing an 18-game schedule could give someone a competitive advantage.

“It could definitely happen,” McCaffery said. “I don’t know that there’s a sure-fire solution.”

One theory is that teams could be seeded heading into a season, and scheduled accordingly in an attempt to  reach a competitive balance.

“You might predict who you think the best teams are going to be, and then schedule accordingly,” McCaffery. “But it doesn’t always work out that way. So many teams have so many new guys.”

The Big Ten has traditionally gone with a two-year rotation, with each team playing four teams just once – two at home, two on the road. Last season was the second in the two-year cycle.

Iowa’s one-plays were at Michigan and Ohio State and at home against Michigan State and Illinois.

With just one year to play before the league goes to 14 teams, next season’s schedule and the one-plays remain undecided. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said last week that scheduling is the next item on the basketball agenda.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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