The Gavitt Games are a NCAAM preseason challenge between the Big East and Big Ten conferences. This is the third straight season that these two conferences are facing off. The games are in honor of the late Big East founder and Providence College athletic director Dave Gavitt, who tragically died of heart failure in 2011.
Big Ten heavyweights like Maryland, Purdue and Wisconsin will be playing in the Gavitt Games, as well as Big East heavyweights such as Xavier, Creighton and Providence.
The last two seasons, the event finished in a 4-4 tie between the two conferences, which means we should be in store for some great match ups once again this year. Which match ups will be studs, and which ones will be duds?
1. Minnesota at Providence
The Gophers return everyone except for guard Akeem Springs from a team that made the tournament as a 5 seed last season, and they also have added highly rated recruit Isaiah Washington. The Friars return everyone from a team that made the tournament last year. They also have added a highly rated recruit in Makai Ashton-Langford.
2. Butler at Maryland
This has been a hectic week for Butler as head coach Chris Holtmann left them for Ohio State. A few days after Holtmann left, they hired former Butler player and now former Milwaukee University head coach, LaVall Jordan. Maryland is losing it’s best player Melo Trimble, as he declared for the draft after 3 years at Maryland. The Terps picked up highly rated center Bruno Fernando out of IMG Academy for this upcoming season.
3. Xavier at Wisconsin
Xavier got great news this off season when Trevon Blueitt announced his decision to return for another season. Xavier is coming off a season where they made the Elite 8 as an 11 seed. The Badgers lost 4 of their 5 starters from last season, and the only starter returning is center Ethan Happ.
4. Purdue at Marquette
The Boilermakers received devastating news a few weeks ago when star player Caleb Swanigan decided to enter his name into the NBA draft with an agent. Purdue was lucky enough to convince Vince Edwards and Issac Haas to stay. Marquette has a lot to prove coming off a great season.
5. Creighton at Northwestern
Northwestern was one of the best stories in college basketball last season, as they made the NCAA tourney for the first time ever. They return most of their core from last year including Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law, and Derek Pardon. Creighton was one of the top teams last season before they lost star PG Mo Watson. This year, they will try to return to the tourney without Mo Watson and freshman sensation Justin Patton, who declared for the draft.
6. Indiana at Seton Hall
Seton Hall got great news recently as star C Angel Delgado announced he was taking his name out of the draft and returning to Seton Hall. Indiana lost star players James Blackmon and Thomas Bryant to the draft. This will be an interesting matchup of two teams who lost a lot from last year.
7. Illinois at DePaul
These two teams were very disappointing last year. Illinois fired head coach John Groce and then hired Brad Underwood after he spent only one year at Oklahoma State. These two teams are separated by only 140 miles, but the two haven’t played since 1957.
8. Nebraska at St John’s
There’s really no reason to be too excited about this game. Nebraska has been on a downfall over the past 5 years, and St John’s has been an embarrassment to their rich history recently. This is a game between two bad teams and expect a lot of bad basketball.