Big Ten, Big East announce Gavitt Tipoff Games beginning in 2015-16

USA TODAY Sports

Two of the nation's top basketball conferences will begin a season tip-off set of games in 2015-16.

The Big Ten and Big East conferences announced the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a season tip-off set of eight games, on Monday. The games will begin in the 2015-16 season, and be played at the home sites of each member team.

The series is named after Dave Gavitt, a longtime Providence coach and athletic director. Gavitt was the first Big East commissioner and also served on the committee that created the 1992 Olympic basketball "Dream Team."

"We are excited to honor Dave Gavitt and his contributions to the sport of basketball through the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said in a release. "Dave was a friend and a mentor to me and often mentioned that college basketball should do a better job of tipping off the season, similar to opening day in baseball. I think he would approve of our effort to start a new tipoff tradition, grow the game and serve the best interests of the student-athletes and coaches in these two great conferences."

The games will be played on four consecutive days (Tuesday-Friday) in the first full week of each college basketball season, with four hosted by schools from each conference. Each Big East team will participate a minimum of six times over the eight years, while Big Ten schools will play a minimum of four times. TV coverage will be controlled by the conference of the home team, so Big Ten games will air on ESPN or BTN and Big East games will be broadcasted on FOX Sports 1. Each year's full schedule will be released in late spring.

"We look forward to partnering with the Big Ten to stage a new series of basketball games among our schools and to pay homage to Dave Gavitt, the Big East's founder, who was an inspiration to many of us and one of the most impactful contributors in the sport of basketball," Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman said. "We have natural connections with the Big Ten through our shared geographic regions, and these competitions promise some exciting new rivalries for our players, coaches and alumni. With March Madness, college basketball always ends with a flourish, and the Gavitt Tipoff Games will allow us to open the season with a bang as well."

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