Gavitt Games Betting Preview: Breaking Down All 8 Big East/Big Ten Games

Gavitt Games Betting Preview: Breaking Down All 8 Big East/Big Ten Games article feature image

Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)

The Gavitt Games are essentially a Big East-Big Ten challenge that features eight matchups between the two conferences.

The event is named after Dave Gavitt, the former athletic director for Providence who became the first commissioner of the Big East.

It’s become a tradition each year since 2015, featuring only eight programs from each conference that rotate each year.

This season, the Big Ten has some of its elite programs not included in the event such as Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan and Rutgers.

With the first three years resulting in a tie, the Big Ten leads the series 2-1.

The Big East won the Gavitt Games last season, but can it repeat and tie the series? Let’s dive into the eight matchups.

Villanova vs. Michigan State

Friday, Nov. 18
8 p.m. ET

Though this matchup highlights the Gavitt Games, it loses a bit of its flair without Jay Wright on the opposite sideline of Tom Izzo. It will, however, be the first big game (of many) of Kyle Neptune’s head-coaching career with the Wildcats.

It will also be the first test for the new-look Villanova squad, which will be without Collin Gillespie (graduated) and Justin Moore (injury). Look for Caleb Daniels and Brandon Slater to put on a show as fifth-year seniors.

Michigan State has already been battle-tested with its one-point loss against Gonzaga. I anticipate a strong bounce-back performance from Joey Hauser, as he scored only two points and notched one rebound in his 19 minutes of play before fouling out.

Indiana vs. Xavier

Friday, Nov. 18
6 p.m. ET

The second premier matchup is between Indiana and Xavier. This will also be the first Gavitt Games matchup for new head coach Sean Miller, who returns for his second stint with the program.

Mike Woodson’s second season with Indiana is poised to be the best in recent history. The Hoosiers will have their best roster in the last decade, highlighted by the return of four seniors.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is the most important returning starter, as he averaged 18 points and eight rebounds last season.

This is a matchup between an elite Xavier offense and a stout Indiana defense, and that should make for a fantastic game.

Iowa vs. Seton Hall

Wednesday, Nov. 16
7:30 p.m. ET

Iowa’s high-powered offense will have revenge on its mind in its matchup against Seton Hall. That revenge is not because of the Pirates, but because of their new head coach in Shaheen Holloway.

Holloway joined his alma-mater after he led Saint Peter’s Cinderella run in March last season. Saint Peter’s defeated Purdue in the Sweet 16, and Iowa will aim that frustration against Seton Hall.

The Iowa offense is looking to reload after losing its highest NBA draft pick in program history in Keegan Murray. The Hawkeyes have an experienced group coming back, as they are starting four juniors and a senior.

Can Holloway lead a more talented group to another upset, or will Iowa find its revenge?  

Marquette vs. Purdue

Tuesday, Nov. 15
8:30 p.m. ET

Marquette and Purdue will be one of the most fun games to watch as it will surely provide fireworks. The Boilermakers' high-level offensive talent will put Shaka Smart’s chaotic defensive style to the test.

This game will surely have an up-and-down pace, as the Golden Eagles rank sixth in the nation in Tempo. The offense ranks third in average offensive possession length. Through their first two games this season, the Golden Eagles are averaging 78 points per game.  

Purdue’s offense averaged 80 points per game last season, and it shows no signs of slowing down this season.

If you are interested in a high-scoring matchup, this is the one for you.

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Butler vs. Penn State

Monday, Nov. 14
8:30 p.m. ET

Micah Shrewberry has the Nittany Lions at 2-0 while averaging over 92 points per game.

The offense is hitting 71% of its field goals this season, which is tops of any team. The group is taking 58% of its shot attempts from beyond the arc and converting at a 50% clip.

But the Nittany Lions do this behind one of the slowest tempos in the country.

That offense will be put to the test against Thad Matta’s Butler Bulldogs.

Butler also plays at a slower pace and will look to slow down the Nittany Lions' perimeter shooting threats. That isn’t as much of a concern for the Bulldogs, who hit 17% from outside in their season opener against New Orleans.

Nebraska vs. St. John's

Thursday, Nov. 17
6:30 p.m. ET

After a slow-paced methodical matchup between Butler and Penn State, it’s only right we have an up-and-down track meet.

That’s what we can expect when Nebraska travels to St. John's.

The Red Storm led the nation in tempo last season, as they look for a transition bucket on every possession. SJU welcomes in Andre Curbelo, who transferred in from Illinois to help run the fast-paced transition offense.

DePaul transfer David Jones has scored 20 points in each matchup this season and will look to continue that streak against Nebraska.

Nebraska isn’t afraid to match that fast-tempo playing style under head coach Fred Hoiberg. Last season, the Cornhuskers ranked 17th in the country in tempo, though it led the program to just a 10-22 record.

Expect points in this matchup, and it will certainly be fun to watch.

DePaul vs. Minnesota

Monday, Nov. 14
7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network

This matchup lacks the same glamor as the other matchups in the Gavitt Games due these two programs' recent struggles. Neither program has won a NCAA tournament game in a decade, and that trend doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

DePaul started out last season with a 9-1 record behind a soft non-conference schedule.

But then it faltered in Big East play, winning just six of its 20 matchups. The group lost Jones to St. John's and Javon Freeman-Liberty, who averaged 22 points per game last season.

Minnesota has been running a strict eight-man rotation this season with three starters averaging double-digits. Dawson Garcia is leading the way with 17 points and seven rebounds per game.

Both programs are projected to finish among the bottom of their respective conferences this season.

Northwestern vs. Georgetown

Tuesday, Nov. 15
6:30 p.m. ET

Patrick Ewing and his Georgetown Hoyas will celebrate any victory over a power conference. Last season, the program went 0-19 in Big East play and had only one victory over a team ranked inside the KenPom top 100.

The offense was bad, ranking 349th in the nation on 2-point field goal attempts. That's not something you’d expect from an Ewing-led program.

The defense was even worse, ranking 228th in total efficiency.

It will have the chance to find its best win in over a year in this matchup against Northwestern. The Wildcats have largely been mediocre under Chris Collins and look to get over the hump this season.

The Wildcats' defense has been stout in their first two games against opponents who rank outside the top 290 in the nation. The offense has looked solid assisting on 75% of its made baskets this season.

Let's see if that success can translate over to a quality opponent. 

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