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SG Gavitt Tipoff Games Preview

The Gavitt Tipoff Games took a one year hiatus after the COVID-19 season provoked the Big East and Big Ten to cancel the games. The games had taken place yearly since 2015, resulting in 3 ties between the conferences and 2 wins for the Big Ten. Some all time classics arose, like 2019 MSU vs Seton Hall, 2018 Michigan vs Villanova, 2016 Creighton vs Wisconsin and more.

The action returns this MCBB season, and I’m going to preview every single game and give you 1 game prediction lock. Get your popcorn ready, because you’re defiantly going to be entertained. 

Monday, Nov. 15:

#10 Illinois vs Marquette 

Illinois is coming off a very disappointing tournament exit to Loyola-Chicago last season, but are still considered a top flight team in the country. The loss of Ayo Dosunmu definitely stings but they return Kofi Cockburn, who was a very great robin to Ayo’s batman last season.  He is suspended though, and won’t be available for the game tonight at Marquette. The Illini’s leading scorer is no other than Jacob Grandson, averaging 17.5 through two games into the season. Grandson didn’t get very minutes last year, and didn’t truly do much. But with Kofi out for the beginning of the season he stepped in and he looks efficient posting a .632 FG percentage. Marquette had a very head scratching 2020 season, COVID-19  definitely affected the program throughout the year. Darryl Morsell looks to advance the Golden Eagles though, transferring from Maryland and making an instant impact averaging 23.5 and shooting .600 from the field. Justin Lewis and and Stevie Mitchell are also along for the ride, as Marquette prepares to try and win in back to back Gavitt Games. 

Verdict: Illinois 80, Marquette 74

Providence vs Wisconsin 

Providence along with Marquette, had a shaky 2020. despite having star David Duke, the Friars couldn’t finish above .500 on the season, finishing 9-10 in Big East play. Nate Watson returns though as the Friars look to bounce back from last season. I think Watson and transfer from Indiana Aljami Durham are both solid pieces, but the depth just isn’t there for this Providence team. Wisconsin also struggles from a true depth perspective. Jonathan Davis, Steve Crowl and Brad Davison are solid pieces but can this team truly develop into a contending team in the loaded big ten? Wisconsin has so far been great defensively but Providence not so much, and I feel this could be truly a lopsided game but I don’t think it’ll truly end up that way. 

Verdict: Wisconsin 68, Providence 57

Tuesday, Nov. 16:

Seton Hall vs #4 Michigan 

Michigan was so good last season, and so far they’ve proved it wasn’t a fluke of a season. hunter Dickinson looks like one of the best players in the nation, averaging 19 PTS and 8 TRB. The Wolverines opened up their season against Buffalo who put up a fight but had no real chance, and then a dominate win over Prairie View. Eli Brooks also looks solid, and if all the pieces along with him are clicking this Wolverines team is hard to control. To the casual fan looking at this game, it isn’t a matter of who’s going to win, but how much Michigan will win by. To some extent that’s true, but I wouldn’t sleep on this Pirates team. A healthy Jared Rhoden, paired with Myles Cale, Jamir Harris and crew, is hard to truly contain offensively. The Pirates also open up the young season a top five defensive team in the nation, #4 in DRtg. It should be a fun game to watch, especially with the dreadful 1989 championship narrative lingering in the back of all older college basketball fans heads. 

Verdict: Michigan 60, Seton Hall 58 

Creighton vs Nebraska 

This could be the worst game on the slate of Gavitt Tipoff Games. These are arguably two of the worst teams competing in the games, and they’re facing each other. The Blue Jays are doomed to fall off this season, struggling against Kennesaw State was truly embarrassing and being down to Arkansas-Pine Bluff at half time is laughable. At least they won their games, Nebraska barely lost to Western Illinois, and then proceeded to edge out a win against Sam Houston State by 9. A 1-1 start is not truly surprising though, as they’re one of the worst teams in the conference. they just flat out were horrible last year, finishing the season 7-20, and added some new firepower but it truly won’t be enough to contend with Creighton. 

Verdict (LOCK🔒): Creighton 84, Nebraska 60 

Wednesday, Nov. 17:

Michigan State vs Butler

The Butler Bulldogs are 3-0 on the young season, with three wins over colleges casual college basketball fans may not recognize. Despite this, Chuck Harris, Jair Bolden, and Jayden Taylor look to continue their solid seasons going into their first true challenge. Michigan State strolls into Indianapolis with a 1-1 record, losing to #3 Kansas 87-74 and taking care of Western Michigan 90-46. But this Spartans team is without Emoni Bates, who decommitted and instead took his talents to the AAC. Despite this, Tom Izzo once again put together a roster with some talent, Gabe Brown, A.J. Hoggard and others prove that this MSU team is not once that can be easily taken advantage of. This Spartans team is just too good too lose to Butler. 

Verdict: Michigan State 90, Butler 71

St. John’s vs Indiana 

The Johnnies march into Assembly Hall with two of the best talents in the Big East. Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander should be on every BE team’s radar for the upcoming season, as they make the Johnnies an instant threat to win or hang in games. Along with a solid supporting cast from guys like Tareq Coburn and O’Mar Stanley, the Red Storm look amazing offensively. With their #7 ORtg ranking so far this season, this Indiana defense (#26 DRtg) should be put to the test. Indiana is led by Mike Woodson, a new face for the program who look to go back to the tournament for the first time since 15-16. The Hoosiers are 2-0 and led by Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 20 pts and 10.5 boards on the season. This game will definitely be entertaining, and a fun one to watch. 

Verdict: St. John’s 71, Indiana 67 

Thursday, Nov. 18:

Rutgers vs DePaul

This Rutgers team is laughable. Barely edging out wins against Lehigh and Merrimack College, and this team thinks it deserves an overview? Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker. There. DePaul has Javon Freeman-Liberty who is averaging 23.5 pts, David Jones averaging 19.5 pts and 13.o boards and Brandon Johnson averaging 16.5. Too recap this horrible DePaul team has scored against horrible programs, and this Rutgers team is a mess. Don’t watch this game, turn on the WCBB #24 Texas A&M vs SFA instead, it won’t disappoint. 

Verdict: DePaul 50, Rutgers 43

#19 Ohio State vs Xavier

Ah, some real college basketball teams. Ohio State disappointed in their season opener against Akron, showing that this team has some flaws. just like how we saw last year, in their loss to Oral Roberts in the first round of the tournament. Despite this, E.J. Lidell is so good, enraging 27.0 pts on the young season, but the rest of the team not looking too sharp. Xavier actually has a mutual opponent to Ohio State, both programs playing Niagara. Xavier also disappointed in their season debut only beating Niagara 63-60, but the Purple Eagles did lose to the Buckeyes by ten despite only being down by 1 at halftime. But the Musketeers then came out and easily handled Kent State. With Paul Scruggs and Colby James leading the way, this Ohio State team is definitely on upset alert in Cincinnati. 

Verdict: Xavier 79, Ohio State 74

There are my previews and predictions for every game apart of the Gavitt Tipoffs! What is your favorite pick and which one do you lather? For more sports content follow @sportsgreatness_ and for more Seton Hall/Big East/College Basketball content follow @sh.wrld