Dienhart: Gavitt Games matchups I want to see

Now that the Gavitt Tipoff Series has been officially announced, it’s time to think of some of the fun potential matchups. Note: Nebraska-Creighton and Wisconsin-Marquette already play annually. And Butler meets Indiana and Purdue often. But here are 10 I’d like to see.

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Indiana at Marquette. How about a trip back to Milwaukee for Tom Crean, who led the program a Final Four? Perfect.

Iowa at Villanova. Let’s have Hawkeyes coach and Philly native Fran McCaffery travel back home to play a strong Wildcats program.

Maryland vs. Georgetown. Beltway programs with rich histories. America must see this. Or, at least the East Coast.

Michigan vs. Seton Hall. The two teams met in the 1989 national title game, with Michigan winning in overtime on Rumeal Robinson’s late free throws. Who wouldn’t want to see them play again?

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan State vs. Creighton. No real connection. Just a meeting between two good programs.

Minnesota at Providence. Anytime we can get Richard Pitino back to the East, it’s good. How about a trip to Providence, which is where dad Rick came to prominence with a 1987 Final Four trip? Yes, please.

Northwestern vs. DePaul. These Chicago-area schools have met often in recent history, as the Blue Demons won the last encounter in 2013. Before that, they hadn’t met since 2008, which ended a six-game series.

Ohio State vs. Xavier. Let’s call it the “Battle of I-71.” I’ll settle for at least one meeting every few seasons. Please. They’ve met just once since 1996, and that was in the 2007 NCAA tourney when Ohio State outlasted Xavier in overtime on its way to the national title game. Let’s do this.

Penn State vs. Villanova. Keystone State foes have met just two times, with the school’s splitting meetings in 1998 and 1999. Let’s settle this.

Purdue vs. St. John’s. Steve Lavin cut his teeth as a G.A. under Gene Keady at Purdue. Keady is now an assistant to Lavin. So, naturally, we need to send Lavin and Keady back to West Lafayette.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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TM on 5/5/2014 @ 3:40pm EDT Said:

i’d prefer to see the illini at depaul since they will never/ ever play that sort of road game.