Yesterday, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports released what appeared to be the matchups for next year’s Gavitt Games between the Big Ten and Big East. This slate was later confirmed by the Big Ten. While the league has yet to confirm the pairings, it looks like a dynamite schedule of events. This fall marks the fourth 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 third year in a row) with neither conference delivering anything close to a dominating performance. Perhaps the most memorable game was a battle between Xavier and Wisconsin in Madison.
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.
2018 Gavitt Games Schedule:
- Marquette Golden Eagles at Indiana Hoosiers
- Michigan Wolverines at Villanova Wildcats
- Seton Hall Pirates at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- St. John’s Red Storm at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Although this might sound hyperbolic, this certainly looks like the best Gavitt Games lineup through the brief history of the event. Perhaps the rematch between Michigan and Villanova is skewing things, but there are a plethora of intriguing games here. The vast majority of games feature teams with NCAA aspirations and national implications.
The marquee matchup of the event, as already mentioned, is clearly Michigan and Villanova. The two teams faced off in the national championship game last season and both have been quite impressive over the last few seasons. Both also play an exciting style that should make this one particularly fun to watch.
Perhaps the only downside to a potential rematch between Michigan and Villanova in next year’s Gavitt Games is the fact that the game is at Villanova. With the Wildcats being favored, it probably would have been more intriguing to put them on the road against the Wolverines. But, even with that said, this looks like a fantastic matchup.
The matchups for Illinois, Ohio State, and Wisconsin also look particularly intriguing. The Illini get to host a major program at home, Ohio State will be hoping to prove last year wasn’t a fluke, and Wisconsin gets an opportunity to move forward after a rough season. More simply put, there should be a lot of intrigue for all three Big Ten teams.
Of course, not everything is perfect about this slate, though. In particular, Penn State and Rutgers look to have pretty underwhelming matchups. Rutgers will get to face a local opponent and DePaul could be improved, but neither game will draw much attention.
It’s still early, but there’s no debating that this year’s slate for the Gavitt Games looks fantastic on paper. Fans should have more than a few great matchups to look forward to at the beginning of next season.