You can always trust Jon Rothstein for one thing, and that’s
dithering on about Italian food reporting on non-conference scheduling. For that, he earns a certain amount of respect around these parts, as it provides us with things to talk about in May and June.
In this case, though, Rothstein managed to put his hands on the full lineup for the 2018 Gavitt Tipoff Games. Since we’re talking about it here, that must mean that Marquette is involved, and that is absolutely the case. Rothstein reports, and Marquette Wire’s John Steppe confirms, that the Golden Eagles will be visiting Indiana in next season’s iteration of the yearly square-off between the Big East and the Big Ten.
UPDATE (4:35pm): The Big East and the Big Ten have announced dates for each of the games. Times and TV networks are yet to be decided.
While a non-conference meeting between two squads that should, in theory, be in contention for their respective league titles in 2018-19 might sound like it would be the headlining game for this Gavitt Games, that is most definitely not the case. That award goes to Michigan at Villanova, aka “a rematch of the 2018 national championship game.” Congrats to whoever pulled the right string to make sure that game made it onto the schedule.
Here’s the remaining schedule:
- Wisconsin at Xavier
- Georgetown at Illinois
- Ohio State at Creighton
- St. John’s at Rutgers
- Seton Hall at Nebraska
- Penn State at DePaul
If you’re scoring at home, that means Providence and Butler are sitting this year out on the Big East’s side, while Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, and Minnesota are taking the year off for the Big Ten. This will be the fourth year of eight in the Gavitt Games cycle, and Michigan State has yet to turn up for a single one of their required four appearances. The problem, of course, is that the Spartans are consistently scheduled to be a part of the Champions Classic on the Tuesday of the week where the Gavitt Games take place. It kind of ruins their chances of getting involved.
Marquette is 2-7 all time against Indiana, with just six of the contests coming on one home court or the other. The most recent meeting came in 2001 when the Golden Eagles defeated the #20 ranked Hoosiers, 50-49, in the semifinals of the Great Alaska shootout. The previous meeting was at Assembly Hall in Indiana, with the Hoosiers getting the 94-82 victory in the quarterfinals of the 1985 NIT. The meeting before that came in the 1976 NCAA tournament, when the undefeated and #1 ranked Hoosiers knocked off the one loss and #2 ranked Warriors, 65-56, in the Elite Eight. I’m gonna go ahead and say that whoever bracketed and/or seeded that tournament was an idiot. The game before that was in 1973, where #6 Indiana beat #5 Marquette, 75-69, in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Again, I suspect that the bracketeer was an idiot.
What I’m trying to say is that November’s game between the two teams will literally be the least important game between Marquette and Indiana since 1949.
Indiana is coming off a 16-15 season in the first year under head coach Archie Miller. That’s the lowest win total for the Hoosiers since Tom Crean’s third season as the former Marquette head coach was still digging his way out from underneath Kelvin Sampson’s mess. While it seems to be a little weird that Indiana threw Crean and his two Big Ten regular season titles aside in order to go 16-15 and 9-9 in Big Ten play in year 1 under the new guy, Miller’s 2018 recruiting class does somewhat explain their motive.
Miller has signed up five top 150 recruits, using 247 Sports’ Composite rankings, with three of them hailing from the great state of Indiana. Those three gents are the first top 150 ranked Indiana prep stars to sign letters of intent to play for the Hoosiers since James Blackmon (#20) in the class of 2014. Crean was getting notable guys, of course, but they just weren’t Indiana kids. The 2018 Indiana recruiting class is led, of course, by Romeo Langford, who only just committed to the Hoosiers at the end of April. He’s ranked #6 in the country by 247 Sports, which seems to be pretty good. I don’t know what games Indiana has scheduled in the first five days of the season, but odds are that this will be the first major game on the slate for Langford. Fingers crossed that the night does not end with people using the phrase “coming out party,” unless it’s being directed at Joey Hauser.
Those freshmen may be called on to play a notable role for the Hoosiers. Leading scorer Juwan Morgan has declared for the draft, but has not signed with an agent as of yet, and Robert Johnson, IU’s next best scorer last season, was a senior. The only other guy who averaged more than eight points a game was De’Ron Davis, and he played just 15 games before blowing out his Achilles in early January. Even if Morgan returns to school, that’s an awful lot of free space in the lineup for guys who could turn into regular scoring threats. While Indiana might turn into a contender for the Big Ten title by the time February rolls around, it might be to MU’s benefit to be catching them in Bloomington in early November.
Rothstein only has the matchups, not the TV schedules nor the dates of the games, which is nice for this here website. That means that we can squeeze another article out of the Gavitt Games when the two conferences make the official announcement.
What we do know for sure is that the Gavitt Games will take place in the first full week of the season. As you can see from the handy dandy calendar here that’s been assembled from previous announcements, the game is clearly going to happen between November 12th and November 15th. Based on the aforementioned previous announcements, we’re now just waiting to find out MU’s opponents in the preseason NIT on November 10th and November 17th, as well as the home games on November 27th, December 4th, and December 18th.