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Big Ten basketball tournament in Omaha? Why not?

[ 0 ] May 13, 2014 |

CHICAGO, Ill. – With all the talk of the Big Ten basketball tournament moving to the east, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst was asked if Omaha would be an option.

Shawn Eichorst

Shawn Eichorst

“Love it,” Eichorst said of the idea during the Big Ten Conference’s annual spring meetings Tuesday. “If the opportunity presented itself, I would imagine we’d try to put our best foot forward and put something out there.”

There was some clamoring when the Big Ten announced it would hold the tournament in Washington D.C. in 2017. Eichorst said feedback from the Cornhuskers faithful has been mostly positive.

“For us to integrate Maryland and Rutgers in a way that I think we all hope we will, these are all steps in a positive direction,” Eichorst said. “If we’re going to be accepting of the eastern side of the league, then we’ve got to go live and play there.”

PRAISE FOR PELINI

When the Cornhuskers football team lost to Iowa last November, coach Bo Pelini seemed destined to be dismissed.

Pelini pretty much dared his bosses to fire him. But six months later, the rough edges seemed to have been smoothed over.

“Bo is the same guy I met when I arrived on campus,” Eichorst said. “I see those sort of qualities in him on a day-to-day basis.

“What’s out there in the community and the perception and all that other sort of stuff is certainly hard to control.”

Pelini helped his cause with a few savvy public relations moves, like walking to Memorial Stadium for the spring game holding a cat. He was spoofing a fake Twitter account in his honor.

“He’s a good ball coach, a good person,” Eichorst said. “He’s serious about his craft and very disciplined in his approach.

“We’re lucky to have him at Nebraska.”

NINE OVER EIGHT

Eichorst said the Big Ten plans to stick with nine conference football games, even though other leagues prefer eight.

“At the end of the day, I’m not worried about what everybody else is doing,” he said. “We’re going to manage what we can control. “I certainly understand why some of the other leagues are doing what they’re doing, but at the end of the day, if we take care of our business we’ll be OK.”

A 14-TEAM TOURNAMENT NOW

The Big Ten basketball tournament will have to be reconfigured, following the addition of Rutgers and Maryland. All 14 teams will participate. Eichorst said he did not expect the tournament schedule to be moved back to a Tuesday-through-Saturday schedule, but details still need to be worked out. Currently, the Big Ten tournament runs Thursday through Selection Sunday.

Category: Big Ten

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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