The Big East and Big Ten have announced the 2016 lineup for the Gavitt Tipoff Games. If you'll remember, the 2015 iteration of the Gavitt Games saw the two conferences play to a 4-4 tie, as eventual national champion Villanova pounded Nebraska at the Pavilion [thanks, Doc], Providence and St. John's escaped Rutgers and Illinois, and Iowa annihilated my Golden Eagles, along with some other delightful games.
Well, we've got good news and we've got bad news ahead of the 2016 iteration. Let's talk about them!
Remember the conditions for the Gavitt Games: Played between 2015 and 2022, each Big East team will compete a minimum of six times, while each Big Ten team will get at least four games. Matchups already played by rivals across these two conferences, like Nebrasketball-Creighton, Marquette-Wisconsin, and Northwestern-DePaul (lol) are not counted for the Gavitt Games (I don't know if something like the Seton Hall asskicking of rutger is an annual thing and don't really care to find out, but we'll just assume that it is).
Villanova at Purdue
Oh, OK. I mean, the defending national champions coming into anyone's house would be a great draw and some good viewing that'll likely be front and center on ESPN. But...Purdue? Really? Michigan State still has not participated in the Gavitt Games, but Purdue hosts the reigning titlist. Not doing it for me.
Maryland at Georgetown
NOW we're fucking talking. These two schools and fanbases haaaaaate each other, played a 75-71 thriller at the Xfinity Center, and have the national cache to get some attention. Not really a Big Ten game, but there you have it. I'll tune in to watch this anyways.
Wisconsin at Creighton
Since the Badgers, Noted Third Best Team in the Dairy State, already have an annual series with Marquette, there's not really a gripping game to provide Wisconsin in these games anyways. I would give some thought to Wisconsin-Georgetown or Wisconsin-Butler in the future, but Jesus I don't know if I could stand to watch offensive basketball murdered for that long right in front of my eyes. Greg McDermott pulled a disappearing act in 2014-15 after Dougie Fresh left to shoot threes for the Bulls, but the Jays rebounded nicely (heh) in 2015-16, finishing 9-9 in the Big East and making it to the NIT quarterfinals. They should at least be a passable test for a Badger squad hoping to continue on the momentum built under no longer interim HC Greg Gard.
Northwestern at Butler
Never going to be a huge draw, I grant, but one that has the potential to be a nice little series for the Chicagoland area. It would be fun to see Butler come to Evanston, but there's something to be said for a return to Hinkle for the 'Cats who put the scare in the then-23rd-ranked Bulldogs during Chris Collins' second season at the helm. Take the under in this game too, though -- both the Butler Way and the commitment to defensive basketball that Northwestern has attempted to take on means a repeat of the 65-56 slugfest in 2014 may be in the cards.
Seton Hall at Iowa
Aaaand we get into the portion of the Gavitt Games where you scratch your head and think...sure? That could be a game with some potential? Both the Pirates and Hawkeyes made the Big Dance in 2015-16 and return playmakers in Isaiah Whitehead and Peter Jok who could make this a fast-paced, high-scoring game.
Providence at Ohio State
I'm sorry, but missing the potential that Xavier-Ohio State has is just frustrating.
This'll be a game, I suppose, because keep beating that Ohio State basketball drum. Why not.
St. John's at Minnesota
You're kidding me, right?
You're not kidding me?
Rutgers at DePaul
Fuck you, Delany.
If I'm making an early prognostication, I see the Big Ten winning this, 5-3. That's probably with a truckload of bias, but there you have it. I'll take Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, and either Iowa or Northwestern to seal it for the Midwest. This means we'll tie again. And everyone knows a tie is like kissing your