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Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament to tip off in D.C. Wednesday

During its nearly 20 year history, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament has always been held in either Chicago or Indianapolis —But this year it will be played at the Verizon Center in D.C.

This will be the second straight year Washington has hosted a major college basketball conference tournament. Last year the Verizon Center hosted the ACC Tournament, which was won by the University of North Carolina with Virginia as the runner-up.

The ACC tournament was also held in D.C. in 2005. It was also played several times in the past at the Caps Centre, which used to be in Landover.

But for the Big Ten, not only is D.C. brand-new territory, so is the entire East Coast. Since the tournament began in 1998, it has always been played in either Chicago or Indianapolis.

Although the Big Ten is traditionally a Midwestern conference, in 2014 teams from the University of Maryland and Rutgers University began playing in it.

Thanks to its new members the conference decided to expand its tournament geography. It decided to have its tournament close to Maryland this year, and next year it will be in New York City, which is not far from Rutgers in New Jersey.

According to the D.C. tourism organization Destination DC, the 2016 ACC Tournament brought in more than $24 million in “direct spending.” The organization estimates the Big Ten Tournament will bring in more than $33 million.

Part of the reason the Big Ten is expected to bring in more money is that the ACC Tournament featured a number of schools within driving distance of D.C., whereas most of the Big Ten schools are located much further away. That likely means more fans will be staying in hotels.

The tournament begins Wednesday and lasts through Sunday. Because it earned a double bye, Maryland will not play its first game until Friday night.

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