Big Ten expands conference basketball schedules next season

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany speaks at the 2017 Big Ten Media Day at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Big Ten is increasing its conference schedule to 20 games in men’s basketball and 18 in women’s basketball, starting in the 2018-19 season.

The conference announced the move Thursday before its men’s basketball media day at Madison Square Garden.

Under the new format, men’s teams will play seven opponents twice and six teams once, splitting the single matchups evenly between home and away. In-state rivalries Illinois-Northwestern, Michigan-Michigan State and Indiana-Purdue will be played twice annually.

The women’s schedule will include five opponents playing twice and eight once, split evenly between home and away. It also will emphasize state and regional rivalries.

Big Ten men’s teams currently play 18 conference games and the women’s teams play 16.

The Big Ten doesn’t have a preseason poll for order of finish in the conference, but it does choose a preseason player of the year, as voted by the media. Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges was picked as preseason player of the year along with being a unanimous selection to the 10-player preseason all-conference team.

Joining Bridges on the preseason all-Big Ten team: Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey; Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ; Maryland’s Justin Jackson; Michigan’s Moritz Wagner; Michigan State’s Nick Ward; Purdue’s Vincent Edwards; and Minnesota’s Amir Coffey and Nate Mason.

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