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Gavitt Games Recap: The B1G is Alright?

Some nice wins at the top, some questions for Purdue, and a murky middle of Big Ten basketball with a couple marquee victories.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Ohio State
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

By a score of 5-3, the Big Ten won the Gavitt Games! HOW EXCITED ARE YOU?!

...oh, I see. Not at all.

Can I interest you in looking back at what happened anyways? Because involves Purdue basketball tears, which are, of course, nectar to us all, and the general sadness of Iowans, which will sustain you through these cold winter months.


DePaul Blue Demons 93, Iowa Hawkeyes 78

DJ: I did not watch this game. That’s not stopping me from LOL at this result. This might be the time to get rid of Fran.

Stew: DePaul was the more athletic, more talented team. It wasn’t close. Now I think this DePaul team is much improved from the woeful teams of the past few years. However, they’re still probably just a bubble team. This was Iowa’s first real test and they bombed. It’s a throwaway season, Fran isn’t getting fired, just redshirt as many as will take it (Jordan Bohannon and Patrick McCaffery for sure), and just work on development. Cuz next year is make or break.


Gavitt Games

Michigan Wolverines 79, Creighton Bluejays 69

MNW: Isaiah Livers and Zavier Simpson might be the ones driving the Michigan boat, but Jon Teske needs to be down low shoveling coal for this whole operation to go anywhere, and for parts of this game I didn’t get the sense that he was. Maybe I was missing something with the game on mute, but while Simpson and Teske on the pick-and-roll is a lethal combo, the senior center should be taking over games against undersized Creighton.

Butler Bulldogs 64, Minnesota Golden Gophers 56

WSR: In a surprise involving most B1G teams that aren’t at the top, Minnesota is rather meh. We really don’t have a 4 yet, the guards are streaky, and if the refs are crap (like they were in that they allowed muggings outside the lane but blew their whistle immediately if you so much as breathed on a post player) then the Gophers are in trouble because Daniel Oturu is far and away our best player. Butler did a good job and deserved the win, but we’ll have to see where exactly the Gophers rank toward the bottom of the pile after a few more games. At least we’re not Iowa?

Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Tournament

Indiana Hoosiers 91, North Alabama Not-A-Real-Teams 65

Candystripes: We came, we saw, we (after yet another slow start; seriously, Archie, what’s up with this?) conquered.


Gavitt Games

#16 Ohio State Buckeyes 76, #10 Villanova Wildcats 51

Stew: My 2nd place prediction for the Buckeyes in conference doesn’t seem so far fetched now. DJ Carton is good.

Marquette Golden Eagles 65, Purdue Boilermakers 55

Boilerman: What a tale of two halves. In the first half, Purdue used a couple of very nice runs to jump out to a 38-25 advantage. The Boilers were moving the ball well and using their size advantage while Marquette couldn’t hit an open 3 to save their lives. Unfortunately, the game is 40 minutes long. For all they did right in the first half, Matt Painter and Company couldn’t do anything right in the second half. A couple of 4+ minute scoring droughts along with Matt Painter’s unwillingness to use his timeouts to break up Marquette’s runs ultimately doomed the Boilermakers.

I started having some nightmares of the Arkansas-Little Rock NCAA game. It appeared that Painter seemed content to try and play Marquette’s game which lead to a lot of passing around the perimeter for 20-seconds before jacking up a contested shot. Having Nojel Eastern and others in deep foul trouble certainly did not help as well. I expected Purdue to take some lumps in the non-conference schedule but the hot and cold issues need to get figured out quickly. There’s not much breathing room before conference play begins.

Northwestern Wildcats 72, Providence Friars 63

MNW: Well I’ll be damned, the kids are alright.

Now, we should be cautious: Against the Northwestern 2-2-1 pressure and matchup zone, Providence showed very little interest in using the size and speed of its guards and wings like Alpha Diallo to get into the paint and hit easy buckets--instead, it was much more fun for the Friars to miss approximately 50 shots (seriously...and 20+ were threes) and refuse to capitalize on 20 Northwestern turnovers.

But man, was it fun to watch what Northwestern could be. C Ryan Young, with his little bit of heft, showed some nice touch around the hoop, grad transfer Pat Spencer was a calming presence with 5 assists, and Pete Nance grabbed a couple timely boards and challenged Providence with his height. I don’t expect it to become a real thing, but it was a nice bounceback for the ‘Cats after a disastrous opening loss to Merrimack. We’ll see where it goes from here.

Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Tournament

wisconsin badgers 83, McNeese Cowboys 63

MC: How am I supposed to draw optimism from this when OSU beat #10 Villanova by more points on the same night? Another slow start makes this one look and feel wholly unimpressive, which was likely to be the case anyways against a terrible opponent.

Fortunately Wisconsin found their shooting touch after a dreadful 2.5 games behind the arc, and the Badgers got quality minutes out of Walt McGrory with Kobe King and Micah Potter out and the team in foul trouble. Wisconsin will always be short-handed this season (they added 5 recruits on Early Signing Day and only lose Brevin Pritzl after this year), so it’s at least good to get production from guys outside the rotation, but the margin for injuries/foul trouble remains thin. They scored 59 points in the middle 20 minutes, which is a promising stretch, but with Marquette up next the performance level needs to improve in a hurry.

Badger fans are very much looking forward to the years ahead with all its great recruiting, but this year’s team is starting to put together a convincing sample size indicating an average season.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 62, Drexel Dragons 57

MNW: I mean...Rutgers. Come on. Steve Pikiell will continue to insist that a W’s a W, and he’s right to do so, but at some point it would be easier to believe Rutgers could contend for postseason play if the Knights wouldn’t trail KP 235 Drexel with five minutes to go.

You missed very little if you missed this game: The Rutgers clang’n’bang did decent work on the offensive glass, Geo Baker was just efficient enough (5/12 for 13), Montez Mathis chipped in 12, and despite no bench help to speak of, the Knights got it done. Onward, I suppose.


Gavitt Games

Penn State Nittany Lions 81, Georgetown Hoyas 66

Aaron Yorke: It’s good that Penn State can beat a major conference opponent on the road by double digits with Lamar Stevens (4-for-13 from the field, six turnovers) playing this poorly. The Lions got a lift from Myreon Jones, who hit four three-point shots during a torrid stretch early in the first half.

After that, Penn State kind of just held on. It forced a bunch of turnovers, but then wasted numerous opportunities to pull away as Georgetown’s press and Omer Yurtseven’s finishing ability caused problems. Penn State’s half-court sets improved in the second half, which opened up a couple of big shots for Myles Dread while Stevens finally got going. That, and Georgetown’s inability to consistently shoot the ball, allowed the Lions to win comfortably and remain undefeated.

Michigan State Spartans 76, Seton Hall Pirates 73

Andrew K: Wow, what a fantastic game. Sweet Sixteen type of atmosphere. Huge credit, first, to Myles Powell for even playing at all a few days after an ankle injury that was supposed to keep him out for an extended period, and then for balling out in the second half to will his team ever so close to the upset.

Cassius Winston recovered from first half foul trouble to give his usual maestro performance down the stretch, but MSU doesn’t win this game without big contributions from freshmen Rocket Watts and Malik Hall. Hall scored not only his first collegiate points, but his first 17, all in the second half after Aaron Henry was hobbled by a bad landing. His counting stats don’t speak to a big role, but aside from drilling a late 3 to blunt Seton Hall’s momentum and turn it back into a 2-point game, the fact that Watts was able to handle the point for an extended stretch with Winston in early foul trouble might be most important big picture takeaway here.

With these wins, the Big Ten has moved (I believe) into the second spot in Jeff Sagarin’s conference ratings, slightly ahead of the ACC but still well behind the Big XII. If only we had some way to see which conference was better between those two...


Who had the best win of the Gavitt Games?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Michigan’s solid win
    (12 votes)
  • 45%
    OSU throttles ‘Nova
    (120 votes)
  • 11%
    Northwestern stuns Providence
    (30 votes)
  • 12%
    Penn State holds on
    (34 votes)
  • 25%
    Sparty’s Sweet Sixteen
    (66 votes)
262 votes total Vote Now


Much more fun: Who had the worst loss?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Iowa doesn’t even show up
    (124 votes)
  • 4%
    Minnesota gets Butler’d
    (11 votes)
  • 40%
    Purdue KNOWS they’re taller than Marquette, right?
    (92 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now