Big East meets Big Ten in the annual Gavitt Games. This might be the last year of the challenge, so soak it all in!
With conference expansion messing everything up like usual, the Gavitt Games are expected to take a hit. Reports say 2023 could be the last time this awesome college basketball challenge is played.
So far, the Big Ten has had their way with the Big East, with a challenge record of 3-1-3. In the first three years this challenge was played, the conferences split, 4-4. However, since then, the Big Ten is 3-1, with the Big East taking it convincingly in 2021, 6-2.
As always, the Gavitt Games provides some great early-season matchups between teams that might square off again down the line in March Madness.
Michigan (2-0) at St. John’s (1-0) – Monday, Nov. 13 – 6:30 p.m.
We might see Madison Square Garden rocking for a St. John’s game like never before. Rick Pitino has become a rock star in New York City and his Johnnies look to get a new era started with a win over Phil Martelli and Michigan. It won’t come easy. Oliver Nkamhoua and Dug McDaniel have started out scorching hot in Ann Arbor. I say Pitino and the Red Storm have to wait for their first big win of the season.
Prediction: Michigan wins
Xavier (2-0) at Purdue (2-0) – Monday, Nov. 13 – 8:30 p.m.
This may have been the marquee matchup of this year’s challenge if Zach Freemantle and Jerome Hunter never got injured. However, with a depleted Xavier roster, Purdue has a clear edge, especially at home. While the Musketeers won’t go down without a fight under Sean Miller, I’m not sure who on Xavier can stop Zach Edey for 40 minutes.
Prediction: Purdue wins
Wisconsin (1-1) at Providence (2-0) – Tuesday, Nov. 14 – 6 p.m.
The Badgers have already played one Power 6 team, losing by 10 to Tennessee in a Friday night clash. Now, Wisconsin will be on the road to face a Providence team coached by Kim English. The Friars’ home court isn’t easy to win on, but the Badgers are built with veteran experience and know the importance of winning some of these non-conference battles.
Prediction: Wisconsin wins
Marquette (2-0) at Illinois (2-0) – Tuesday, Nov. 14 – 8 p.m.
Marquette vs. Illinois has replaced Xavier vs. Purdue as 2023’s Gavitt Games marquee matchup. Terrence Shannon Jr. and the Illini host Tyler Kolek and the Golden Eagles in a game for bragging rights in the Midwest. Early on, it truly has just been Shannon, the only Illinois player averaging at least 10 PPG. Illinois is also shooting it under 30% from deep, which won’t fly against a Marquette team that will capitalize from downtown.
Prediction: Marquette wins
Iowa (2-0) at Creighton (2-0) – Tuesday, Nov. 14 – 10 p.m.
Who else loves some late-night hoops? I’m just as intrigued about the Fran McCaffery – Greg McDermott coaching matchup as I am about the game itself. Two fiery coaches meet in Omaha, Nebraska for a mid-November clash. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes aren’t quite in the same tier as Creighton, who has Final Four aspirations.
Prediction: Creighton wins
Georgetown (1-1) at Rutgers (1-1) – Wednesday, Nov. 15 – 8:30 p.m.
Yes, all of the Gavitt Games matchups count the same, and honestly, this may turn out to be the best game to watch. Not many miles separate Washington D.C. from New Brunswick, NJ, and the two programs used to meet every year in the old Big East. Of course, both programs are off to dismal starts, with the Hoyas falling to Holy Cross and the Scarlet Knights not letting down their guard against Princeton. With that being said, the RAC is an intimidating place to play and I’m not sure if Ed Cooley and Georgetown are ready to take a road game like that just yet.
Prediction: Rutgers wins
Butler (2-0) at Michigan State (1-1) – Friday, Nov. 17 – 6:30 p.m.
Had Michigan State not already lost to James Madison, I’d say Butler could have put the Spartans on upset alert. Through two games, the Bulldogs are averaging 92.5 PPG, 9.0 SPG, and 17.5 APG. However, Michigan State will be as on guard as anyone going forward and the Spartans are at home. Tom Izzo and MSU bounce back to pick up a solid win.
Prediction: Michigan State wins
Maryland (1-2) at Villanova (2-0) – Friday, Nov. 17 – 8:30 p.m.
My first instinct says Villanova should win this game somewhere in the margin of 8-12 points. After all, the Wildcats are one of the best teams in the Big East and Maryland has lost to Davidson and UAB and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. However, I (a Seton Hall grad) should know as well as anyone that Kevin Willard knows how to get his teams ready to play Villanova. Will that result in a win? I’m not ready to go that far, but don’t be surprised if the Terps give the Cats a scare.
Prediction: Villanova wins