I was reading around the sports section of the Washington Post this morning, and came by this interesting tidbit: The Big Ten and Big East (NOT the AAC) will commence a challenge starting in the 2015-2016 basketball season similar to that of the B1G/ACC Challenge. According to SI, the Tipoff will last for eight years, and presumably as we get closer to that eight year mark they will renew the matchup as it provides solid Out Of Conference scheduling on both sides.
The challenge will be named the Dave Gavitt Tipoff, named after the founding commissioner of the Big East who passed in September of 2011. Along with founding the Big East, Gavitt was on the Olympic Committee that put together The Dream Team in 1992, was the CEO of the Celtics from 1990-1994, and the head of the NCAA Foundation from 1995 - 1997.
So why do we care? After all, it's what is left of the Big East. What does it do? Well, it strengthens the Out Of Conference schedule for many teams for one. Adding another solid out of conference matchup for every team earlier in the season is going to allow everyone to see what they need to improve on, where their team is before conference play, etc. It's also going to give a boost to that pesky Out of Conference RPI, which is always pretty lacking unless your team is participating in a higher end tournament or just lucks out that all the teams you scheduled three years ago just happen to be alright.
Oh, and there is Georgetown. I'm not sure if any B1G teams have a history with them, but sorry you need to wait. Maryland against Georgetown needs to be the opening (or closing) matchup that begins this challenge. There is a tremendous history here, and a lot of it is older than me. This stems back into the John Thompson II era (JTIII is the current Georgetown head coach) and ended in 1993. The teams have played twice since, once in 2001 in the tournament with Maryland winning, and then in 2008 with Georgetown running away with it.
The history is filled with bad blood, going back to 71' with JTII advising a recruit to choose another school over Maryland, JTII cursing at Left Dreisell in 1979 during a game, or Gary Williams thinking [correctly] that Maryland is owed a return game after the last game in 1993. The two sides just plain hated each other. This is the B1G, and we love some genuine hate between teams. This needs to happen, and this would be the perfect venue for it. Both sides can claim they were forced into it if they want so that it doesn't look like either compromised, and bragging rights can ensue afterwards.
Ok, off my tangent and back to the Tipoff. The tipoff is setup as an eight game tournament, so theoretically only the Top 8 B1G teams are going to make it, although I guess that 8th spot may be up for some consideration if a normal top tier team has an off year the year prior. Personally, if you can't tell, I am looking forward to this. This isn't the Big Least of the past but is more of the Big East that Gavitt setup consisting of mainly the private Catholic schools. I think there is a thing between Ohio State and Xavier too, so that could be fun for the opening Tipoff as well. I'm sure you buckeye fans are going to let me know about it in the comments.