With one notable exception, this is a season of change in Big Ten Conference men’s basketball.

We’ll get to the exception later. For now, we’ll discuss the many new things Big Ten fans will notice this season.

The Big Ten tournament will be played for the first time in New York’s Madison Square Garden, which is hallowed ground for college basketball but, despite what commissioner Jim Delany wants us to believe, is a long way from Big Ten country.

The conference tournament also will be played a week earlier than usual because the Garden wasn’t available on the weekend of NCAA Selection Sunday. That means the Big Ten final will be included in the NCAA selection committee’s deliberations for a change, but it also will remove the Big Ten from the national spotlight just when it shines the brightest and the resulting layoff could affect the readiness of conference teams for the big dance.

The Big Ten regular season will start a month earlier than usual, with each team playing two conference games the first week of December. This, of course, was necessitated by the conference tournament moving up a week. Get used to it, though. When the Big Ten expands from 18 to 20 regular-season games next season, December games will become routine.

There are new coaches at three of the Big Ten’s most storied programs — Archie Miller at Indiana, Brad Underwood at Illinois and Chris Holtmann at Ohio State. All are proven winners — Miller at Dayton, Underwood at Oklahoma State and Holtmann at Butler — so expect those programs to bounce back quickly, though maybe not this season.

There also are some new Big Ten powers to consider. Minnesota and Northwestern rose from the depths of the second division to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Big Ten race and earn unexpected trips to the NCAA tournament last season. Since graduation losses were slight at both schools, they won’t be going away anytime soon, either.

And now, the one thing that seldom changes in the Big Ten: Michigan State begins the season with legitimate national championship aspirations. And if there’s one thing the Big Ten desperately needs, it is a national championship.

The NCAA has handed out 17 championship trophies since Michigan State won the Big Ten’s most recent national title in 2000. Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and the University of Wisconsin have all lost in the national championship game since then, but none were able to get the Big Ten off the schneid.

To make matters worse, the Big Ten hasn’t even put a team in the Final Four since the Badgers made it in 2015. The conference hasn’t gone three consecutive years without putting a team in the Final Four since 1994-96.

The Big Ten’s best hope this season lies with Michigan State. Forward Miles Bridges was a sure-fire NBA lottery pick after last season, but he stiff-armed the NBA draft and came back for his sophomore season, putting Michigan State’s deep, talented team solidly in the preseason picture of potential national champions.

There’s a lot of basketball to be played between now and then, of course, but a national championship is a change everyone in the Big Ten would welcome.

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