ared Rhoden, Seton Hall, Big East Tournament

The highly favorited Big Ten lost the Gavitt Games to the Big East, 6-2. Here’s what we learned from the annual contest.

Winner: Big East

It’s not rocket science. The Big East came into these Gavitt Games with a lot of uncertainty. And then WITHOUT Villanova or UConn competing this year, completely handed it to the Big Ten, knocking off three ranked teams in the process.

Loser: Big Ten

It would have been one thing if the Big East were favorites in most of these contests. It wasn’t and the Big Ten was thought of as the best conference in college basketball yet again. Now, two weeks in isn’t the proper time to make a serious judgment, but this wasn’t the way the Big Ten wanted to start out 2021.

Winner: Seton Hall

The Pirates now own the best win of any team in the country – on the road over No. 4 Michigan. They needed to come back down double-digits in the second half to get it done and now everyone in America has some attention on South Orange, New Jersey. Way to boost a tournament resume before December.

Loser: Rutgers

Tony Stubblefield might be the guy to turn around DePaul basketball, but in what seemed like one of the surest Gavitt Games locks, Rutgers couldn’t get it done. Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. didn’t come back to Piscataway for any other reason than to make the NCAA Tournament and go on a run in March. The path to get there just got more difficult.

Winner: Shaka Smart

If there’s any coach who should breathe a big sigh of relief and pop a bottle of champagne, it’s Marquette’s Shaka Smart. The first-year coach in a brand new situation has totally got his players to buy into his defensive system. The end of the Illinois upset was a testament to that and now the Golden Eagles have erased a big question mark.

Loser: Hinkle Fieldhouse

7 of the 8 Gavitt Games ended in single-digit outcomes with a few of those going all the way down to the final minutes. The lone that didn’t was a Michigan State Spartans throttling of Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. This is more about the students that had to witness a blowout where everyone else got treated to a close contest throughout.