Basketball Coaches Around Big Ten Share Thoughts on Conference Expansion

B.Senior Analyst IJune 19, 2010

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 19:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Siena Saints argues a call with the ref in a 72-64 loss against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena on March 19, 2010 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Friday, June 11, 2010 was a historic day for the Big Ten.

Commissioner Jim Delany announced that the Nebraska Cornhuskers will officially become a member of the Big Ten Conference as of July 1, 2011, marking a major step in the possible transformation of the college basketball landscape.  

Since the announcement, almost every basketball coach around the league has had a chance to express an opinion about Nebraska's addition to the conference.

Iowa's new head coach Fran McCaffery acknowledged being the newbie, but had positive things to say.

“I'm the new kid on the block, so all I would add to this discussion would be an appreciation for all that the University of Nebraska brings to our conference athletically and academically," McCaffery told reporters shortly after the announcement.  "I wholeheartedly agree that Nebraska appears to be a perfect fit.”

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber also had positive things to say. 

"Nebraska is a great addition to our league as another strong state school with a passionate following like so many in our conference," Weber said. "Doc Sadler is a great, defensive-minded coach from the Eddie Sutton coaching tree just like coach Keady, and his teams will always play hard and be a difficult opponent."

Indiana coach Tom Crean called the Cornhuskers a “first-class institution that for years has competed at the highest level.”  

"It’s very intriguing because I don’t think anybody really knows where it’ll all play out," explained Michigan basketball coach John Beilein.

Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis seems a little unsure about the recent addition. “The presidents and the commissioner have the wisdom and knowledge and the facts and figures to make the right decisions. We just do what we’re told and we go when we’re supposed to play and that’s just the way it is,” DeChellis said.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan had a little advice to offer Nebraska concerning their new conference.  

"I think the people in Lincoln will recognize the importance of Ohio State, Michigan State and Illinois coming in," Ryan said. "How we ended up being conference champs was taking care of business at home and then on the road. In order to be considered, you have to start knocking somebody out, play real close games and winning two out of three of them."

Purdue's Matt Painter said Nebraska should be a great addition to the league, but seemed cautious in his comments. "Anytime there’s change, you’re always a little leery of what’s going to happen.”

Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody has a different opinion about the new addition. "I'm not for it," Carmody told Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had something other than expansion on his mind recently, which made finding a comment about his opinion on expansion difficult. Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith seems to busy searching for a new job to offer comment on expansion.

Most coaches seem generally pleased with the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, though. Most seem to acknowledge that it's an exciting time and look forward to the new challenge at hand. 

Nebraska basketball is no powerhouse threat in the conference, but adding another team will definitely make things interesting come conference tournament time.