A few years back, an in-season showdown between the Big Ten and Big East conferences would've been awesome.
Now, it's another part of the Big Ten's East Coast outreach, as the depleted Big East (many of its former marquee teams have bolted for the ACC) doesn't provide much in the way of exciting non-conference matchups.
The conferences announced the schedule for next season's Gavitt Tipoff Games, the already announced early season event that will pit a little more than half the Big Ten against eight teams from the remade Big East (Butler and Seton Hall won't participate in the event).
The games don't generate much excitement, meaning that the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will safely retain its crown as the early season event Big Ten basketball fans look forward to the most.
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Here are the matchups:
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Georgetown at Maryland. This one's actually pretty interesting, given the two school's geographic proximity. The Terps haven't met the Hoyas since the 2008-09 season, but there ought to be some solid buzz around this game in the Washington, D.C., area.
DePaul at Penn State. Surely one of the least looked-forward-to games of the event, this game pits one of the Big East's worst teams against one of the Big Ten's worst teams.
Nebraska at Villanova. The Huskers disappointed mightily this past season following a fourth-place Big Ten finish in 2013 and a trip to the NCAA tournament, and most of the team's roster won't be returning next season. Villanova is a perennial power fresh off a No. 1 seed in the recently concluded NCAA tournament. Looking kind of one sided.
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Illinois at Providence. The Illini have a lot to prove next season following a second straight campaign without an NCAA tournament appearance. Providence has gone to each of the last two Big Dances, though it hasn't won a game. The last time these two met was 2003, a 19-point loss for the Illini in the Jimmy V Classic.
Thursday, Nov. 19
Creighton at Indiana. The Hoosiers and Bluejays haven't played since the mid-1970s. Indiana squeaked into the NCAA tournament this past season, bounced by Wichita State. Creighton missed the Big Dance after three straight appearances, struggling to maintain success after the graduation of Doug McDermott.
Iowa at Marquette. The Hawkeyes will have a lot to replace after the offseason departures of Aaron White and Gabriel Olaseni, while the Golden Eagles welcome in a highly regarded recruiting class.
Rutgers at St. John's. Another one that could generate some regional buzz. The Scarlet Knights and Red Storm — a lot of red in this matchup — played last just in 2012-13. Rutgers was in the Big East from 1995 to 2013, a long period of time where the Knights didn't finish higher than fifth place. St. John's welcomes in new head coach Chris Mullin, who played on the Dream Team.
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Friday, Nov. 20
Xavier at Michigan. The Wolverines are expected to be a Big Ten contender next season once they get Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Spike Albrecht back to full strength. These two haven't met since 1989, when Michigan dispatched of Xavier for the first victory on the road to a national-championship win in that season's NCAA tournament.