Previewing the 2019 Gavitt Tipoff Games

Gavitt Tipoff Games

The annual Gavitt Tipoff Games are set to commence this week and with it always brings an exciting slate of intra-conference contests.

This series matches up teams from the Big East and the Big Ten. Both conferences look loaded and ready to place many teams in the NCAA Tournament. There is star and coaching power across the board to make this showcase a must-watch event.

Ranking the Gavitt Tipoff Games

8.) Providence Friars at Northwestern Wildcats – Wednesday, November 13

Providence is coming off two easy victories over Sacred Heart and NJIT. Meanwhile, Northwestern had a terrible loss to Merrimack in its season opener.

Most expect the Friars to contend for an NCAA Tournament bid, while the Wildcats are in rebuilding mode with little hope for post-season play. Look for Alpha Diallo, A.J. Reeves, and Emmitt Holt to carry the load for Providence.

Meanwhile, Northwestern is still learning how to replace stalwarts Vic Law and Dererk Pardon. Look for Ryan Taylor and A.J. Turner to carry the torch.

7.) DePaul Blue Demons at Iowa Hawkeyes – Monday, November 11

This is a sneaky good matchup, despite both teams not predicted to do much.

DePaul has been a busy team, having already played three games—beating Alcorn State, University of Chicago, and FDU. Iowa has only played one game and the Hawkeyes easily beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

The Blue Demons have gotten impressive performances out of Paul Reed, Charlie Moore, and Romeo Weems and this trio will give the Hawkeyes fits. And for the Hawkeyes, when you have the uber-clutch Jordan Bohannon running the show and Luka Garza down low, they should be in contention for another NCAA Tournament bid.

However, Bohannon is still not playing at 100 percent after off-season hip surgery.

6.) Minnesota Golden Gophers at Butler Bulldogs – Tuesday, November 12

This is a matchup between teams expected to be in the middle tier of the conference standings.

Butler is a little ahead of the curve, as they bring back major contributors in Kamar Baldwin, Sean McDermott, Jordan Tucker, and Aaron Thompson. While the Gophers made the NCAA Tournament last season, head coach Richard Pitino has a lot of production to replace. Look for Gabe Kalscheur, Jarvis Omersa, and Daniel Oturu to step up.

Butler is 2-0 with wins over IUPUI and New Orleans. Minnesota easily disposed of Cleveland State before succumbing to Oklahoma over the weekend.

Both teams could use this win to enhance their profile.

5.) Penn State Nittany Lions at Georgetown Hoyas – Thursday, November 14

This is a matchup pairing a team that has hopes of playing in the NCAA Tournament (Georgetown) with one who probably needs to make it there to save head coach Pat Chambers’ job (Penn State).

Georgetown is now 2-0 with wins over Mount St. Mary’s and Central Arkansas. Penn State is also 2-0 with wins over Maryland Eastern Shore and Wagner.

The Hoyas have a slight edge in talent with James Akinjo, Mac McClung, Josh LeBlanc, and Omer Yurtseven being a good core to lean on. For the Nittany Lions, they return most of their major players from last season in Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, Myles Dread, Myreon Jones, and Jamari Wheeler.

This is a big game for both clubs and whoever wins will get a nice resume-building win.

4.) Creighton Bluejays at Michigan Wolverines – Tuesday, November 12

New Michigan head coach Juwan Howard will face his first real test after his Wolverines beat Appalachian State in their opener. Creighton and its patient floor-spacing offense will remind many of John Beilein’s Wolverines.

While Michigan has the home-court advantage, Creighton is the more experienced team with the Bluejays bringing back Ty-Shon Alexander, Mitchell Ballock, Marcus Zegarowski, and Davion Mintz. Creighton is 1-0 on the young season with an easy win over Kennesaw State in its opener.

Howard and the Wolverines will turn to Jon Teske and Zavier Simpson to carry the load after losing the likes of Ignas Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole, and Charles Matthews.

This contest should be a lot of fun to watch as both offenses should play at a fast pace.

3.) Purdue Boilermakers at Marquette Golden Eagles – Wednesday, November 13

If only Carsen Edwards came back to Purdue to give us a great one-on-one thrill with him matched up against Marquette’s Markus Howard.

Alas, it was not meant to be. But this game won’t lack entertainment.

Yes, Howard is the main draw here now. He became the Golden Eagles all-time leading scorer last Tuesday after he dropped 38 points in Marquette’s only game (an 88-53 win over Loyola Maryland).

While the Boilermakers lost Edwards, as well as Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert, they do return major pieces in Nojel Eastern, Matt Haarms, and Trevion Williams.

This should be a game of contrasts as Marquette is known for its backcourt of Howard, Sacar Anim, and Utah State transfer Koby McEwen. On the flip side, Purdue has some beef up front with Haarms and Williams leading the way.

Purdue lost their game on Saturday at home to Texas in a tight contest, so you know Boilermakers’ head coach Matt Painter will have his troops ready to get back on track.

2.) Villanova Wildcats at Ohio State Buckeyes – Wednesday, November 13

This the first of two top-20 showdowns that the Gavitt Tipoff Games will showcase. Villanova comes in ranked 10th, while Ohio State comes in ranked 18th (as of Sunday night).

Ohio State already beat a quality opponent when they beat Cincinnati in their season opener. The Buckeyes also dispensed UMass Lowell over the weekend. Meanwhile, Villanova took care of business with a convincing win over Army.

There will be a lot of talent on display in this game.

While the youngest on the squad, Wildcats’ freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the marquee player to watch. He had a remarkable debut by posting a big double-double (24 points and 13 rebounds) and he is a player to keep your eye on. Many expect him to be a one-and-done player.

Look for veterans Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, and Saddiq Bey to have a bigger impact on this affair, though.

For the Buckeyes, head coach Chris Holtmann has a very talented and deep squad that goes nine deep. Big man Kaleb Wesson, junior forward Kyle Young, and guards Luther Muhammad, CJ Walker, and Duane Washington should present problems for the Wildcats.

It’s too bad Wesson’s brother, Andre Wesson, fractured his eye socket and will be out two weeks.

1.) Michigan State Spartans at Seton Hall Pirates – Thursday, November 14

This game was the clear headliner of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, but some luster has faded with the news that Seton Hall’s star Myles Powell suffered a significant ankle injury on Saturday.

Obviously, Powell will miss the game. Still, there is ample star power playing in the game.

Cassius Winston will lead Michigan State and he is one of the nation’s finest guards. Yes, that was Captain Obvious speaking.

The Spartans will look to secure a signature win after dropping its opener to Kentucky in the Champions Classic. Michigan State is now 1-1 after easily beating Binghamton on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Pirates gorged on cupcakes with wins over Wagner and Stony Brook. Pirates’ head coach Kevin Willard will rally his troops and will now look to secondary scoring options in Myles Cale, Sandro Mamukelashvili, and Quincy McKnight to carry the load.

Considering Seton Hall is the home team this should still prove to be a great matchup even without Powell, as emotion could be the theme of the night. Will it be enough to get the Pirates past the finish line?

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