The 2021 Gavitt Games tip off on Monday, with two marquee matchups for Illinois and Wisconsin. The league will also participate in two other games, including an intriguing road trip for Penn State. It figures to be a great night of action.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 11 Illinois Fighting Illini at Marquette Golden Eagles
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Illinois by 9
This one should be a whopper. While Marquette doesn’t look as good as it has in years past, it’s still a solid team with a quality home court advantage. Illinois enters Monday’s matchups coming off two blowout victories and a loaded lineup. However, this will also mark the team’s first quality opponent and first game away from home. It’s a chance for both sides to prove themselves in a marquee matchup.
Illinois will also be shorthanded in this one, as Kofi Cockburn is still out due to NCAA issues. Coleman Hawkins has played well in his absence, but will that hold up against a better team? He will likely matchup against Justin Lewis and Oso Ighodaro. Both are freshmen, but have potential. Ighodaro is also a particularly good shot blocker.
Still, Illinois should enter this game as a solid favorite. Marquette has talent and home court, but Illinois is just a better team. Andre Curbelo, Da’Monte Williams, and Trent Frazier are just too experienced for a let down here.
- Pick: Illinois
-Bowling Green Falcons at No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes
- Time/TV: 6:30PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State by 16
The Buckeyes enter this one amid some uncertainty. The team sits at 2-0, but struggled significantly last week, needing a buzzer beater to avoid a loss to Akron and letting Niagara keep things closer than fans would have liked. This sets the team up with an opportunity to show some improvement on Monday. Bowling Green enters the game at 1-1 and ranked 150th on KenPom. This should be a win, but can the backcourt be good enough to get the job done? We’ll have to wait and see.
- Pick: Bowling Green
-Penn State Nittany Lions at Massachusetts Minutemen
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (CBSSN)
- KenPom Spread: UMass by 3
Penn State had a nice opening to the season, scoring a 75-59 win over Youngstown State on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions will now hope to sustain that success against a much tougher opponent on Monday night. They also hope to do so away from home, going on the road to battle a decent UMass squad. The Minutemen are favored in this one by KenPom and have some nice upperclassmen, highlighted by Noah Fernandes and Rich Kelly in the backcourt. The Nittany Lions will have their work cut out.
- Pick: UMass
-Providence Friars at Wisconsin Badgers
- Time/TV: 9:00PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Wisconsin by 8
This is a sneakily good game. Both teams enter the matchup at 2-0 and have largely exceeded preseason expectations. Providence is led by Indiana transfer Aljami Durham and big man Nate Watson and Wisconsin is led by Brad Davison and Jonathan Davis. The Badgers look like a more complete team, but how do they hold up against a tougher opponent? It should be quite a test. The game will almost certainly be decided by how the Badgers perform on the offensive end of the floor, particularly from deep.
- Pick: Wisconsin
Record Against The Spread: 7-7-0