Over the last few days, matchups have been leaking out for next year's Gavitt Games between the Big Ten and Big East. On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports posted the full list for next year’s event, which were later confirmed by the league. This fall marks the third year of what is set to be a tremendous event featuring two of the nation's best and most prestigious conferences.
Last year's Gavitt Games were split 4-4 between the two conferences (for the second year in a row) with neither conference delivering anything close to a dominating performance. Perhaps the most memorable game was a hard fought road win for Maryland against Georgetown with a 76-75 final score.
Given last year's great success, this year's event looks even more exciting with different Big Ten teams involved that weren't last year. Here are the matchups.
2017 Gavitt Games Schedule:
- Butler Bulldogs at Maryland Terrapins (FS1/BTN)
- Creighton Blue Jays at Northwestern Wildcats (FS1/BTN)
- Indiana Hoosiers at Seton Hall Pirates (FS1)
Let’s start with the obvious. This slate lacks any marquee matchups. Sure, the Purdue and Marquette, Butler and Maryland, and Xavier and Wisconsin games look good on paper, but none of those will move the national needle much. Additionally, it’s disappointing to see that Georgetown and Maryland won’t face off this year.
The biggest reason that this slate lacks the sizzle of the last two years is the lack of top-tier opponents. In particular, the absence of Michigan State and Villanova leave a lot to be desired. Both are expected to be players on the national scene and many consider the Spartans to be a national championship contender.
But, even without a top-tier matchup, there are still some great games on this slate. Specifically, the matchup with Butler and Maryland looks like it could end up being one between two nationally relevant and ranked teams. CBS had Butler ranked in its way too early rankings and many think Maryland could be a sleeper for next season.
Another game that could be a sleeper on this list is the Creighton and Northwestern matchup. Both teams made last year’s NCAA Tournament and should return many of their key pieces for next season. Don’t sleep on that game either.
Of course, on the other end, the game that sits below the rest is the matchup between Nebraska and St. John’s. Neither was all that great last season and it’s unlikely that either turns into a superpower by next fall. That might be one that sees a lot of folks change the dial.
Overall, it looks like a great set of games and another showdown in what is quickly becoming one of the best college basketball events.