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Wisconsin basketball: ranking the possible Gavitt Games matchups for 2020

Who do you want to see the Badgers play from the Big East next year?

Wisconsin v Xavier

The Gavitt Tipoff Games are an annual series of eight games played between the Big East and the B1G. Now entering its sixth year (of an eight year contract), the early season tournament of sorts has become a highly anticipated game on teams’ schedules. The conferences tied for the first three years of the event but the B1G has won the past two. Wisconsin is 1-2 all-time in the Gavitt Games, having lost at Creighton and splitting with Xavier (each team won their road game).

Last year, at the end of May, the matchups were announced and as we just found out which B1G teams will be participating, we thought it might be a fun exercise to see which Big East team would be the most enjoyable for the Badgers to play. Wisconsin will presumably have a home game this year as they’ve already played two road and only one home tilt.

Obviously it would be great if the Badgers would win, but you want to also beat a team that would move the needle nationally and help out your NCAA Tournament resume too. Nobody wants to play Marquette every year. Wait...shit.

As a note, Zagoria later tweeted that it appeared Illinois would be the final B1G team to participate.

So, let’s rank the eight Big East teams we think it would be most fun for Wisconsin to play this coming season!

8. Marquette Golden Eagles

Wisconsin, annoyingly, already plays Marquette every year. Presumably they won’t be playing twice.

7. Georgetown Hoyas

Patrick Ewing’s squad was already going to be pretty bad next year and that was before top option and dunker extraordinaire Mac McClung decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft (wait, that’s good!) and enter the transfer portal (oh...not so good).

DePaul v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Wisconsin has played Georgetown three times since 2014, winning twice in exotic locales (Hawaii and the Bahamas) and losing in New York City. Just proof that the Badgers should only play the Hoyas on a (non-mainland) island.

The Hoyas should stink out loud next season and there is only a potential embarrassing loss there for Wisconsin, as opposed to a resume boosting win.

6. St. John’s Red Storm

Wisconsin has played St. John’s once in the history of either program and obviously that game took place in historic Madison Square Gar ::taps finger to ear:: I’m being told that they did NOT play at MSG but did play in Sioux Falls, S.D. Hey, at least Wisconsin won!

The Red Storm have a potentially exciting team returning and also have a player named Julian Champagnie, which is honestly amazing.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 28 Villanova at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Still...I don’t really think that playing the Red Storm is Wisconsin’s best option.

5. Butler Bulldogs

While they obviously have the best mascot of any of the teams in the Big East, Butler will be going through a bit of a rebuilding year in 2020-21, after losing all-conference performer Kamar Baldwin, and probably won’t be a feather in the cap of any team that beats them.

Presbyterian v Butler Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The only time the Bulldogs and Badgers have played was in the 2011 NCAA Tournament where Butler won and advanced to the Elite 8. Revenge for that game would be nice, but won’t be had this year.

4. Xavier Musketeers

While Xavier would be a great team to play because they’re always competitive and there’s some recent NCAA Tournament history (::waves at Bill Murray::) between the won’t happen since the Musketeers and Badgers have played twice in this very event in the past four years.

Shoutout to my buddy Paul for being an excellent Xavier shot reenacter.

3. Providence Friars

The Badgers have never played the Friars.

The Friars lost a bunch of players from a team that probably would’ve made the NCAA Tournament last year.

They have a horrifying mascot.

Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational: Providence vs. Florida Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

Basically I just want Wisconsin to play Providence so Ryan has a new mascot to roast.

2. Creighton Bluejays

So, with UConn (yes, they’re back in the Big East now) and Seton Hall not participating in this year’s Gavitt Games, the two best options for the Badgers just so happen to be the two best teams in the conference!

Wisconsin has played Creighton three times and the Badgers are 1-2. At least the one win came recently, you ask would be wrong. Wisconsin beat Creighton in 1949 and, well, haven’t since.

Wisconsin v Creighton Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Bluejays have been receiving a TON of preseason hype, with many outlets having them in the top-5 nationally. But then, star guard Ty-Shon Alexander signed with an agent and some of those hopes have been tamped down. Creighton will still be good, don’t get me wrong, but maybe not Final Four good.

They would, however, be a very good win for the Badgers and a tough, early-season matchup that would show how far Wisconsin could go in the 2020-21 season.

1. Villanova Wildcats

A neutral observer may say that playing Villanova or Creighton is a coin-flip. I, per usual, am not a neutral observer and want to see the school I graduated from (Wisconsin) and the school I got my highest college GPA at (first semester sophomore year at Nova, baby!) play in this event.

I grew up cheering for Wisconsin in basketball but I also grew up attending Villanova basketball games at The Pavilion every year. The Badgers and Wildcats have only played once, an extremely fun NCAA Tournament win for UW, and it would be a real treat if they played again.

Wisconsin v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Nova is a perennial national title contender and should be the class of the Big East again this year. While Wisconsin should also come into the season highly ranked, the Cats should be higher and would definitely be at the top of the “quality wins” graphic come March for the Badgers.


Who should Wisconsin play in the Gavitt Games?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    (149 votes)
  • 13%
    (34 votes)
  • 2%
    St. John’s
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    (13 votes)
  • 7%
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    (6 votes)
252 votes total Vote Now