Big Ten, Big East Announce Gavitt TipOff Games (UPDATED)

Big EsatThe Big East and Big Ten Conferences on Monday announced the Gavitt TipOff Games to begin in 2015-16.

The series will consist of eight games and could feature several natural regional rivalries, including Georgetown-Maryland, Marquette-Wisconsin, Creighton-Nebraska, Butler-Indiana, DePaul-Illinois and Xavier-Ohio State.

Rutgers, which enters the Big Ten next season, and Seton Hall are already signed to an eight-game series, so it’s unlikely they would meet again in this event.

Pairings have not yet been announced.

Here’s the release:

The BIG EAST and Big Ten Conferences have announced the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season series of eight men’s basketball games played between the two conferences and named in honor of Dave Gavitt, founder of the BIG EAST and basketball visionary.

The Gavitt Tipoff Games will be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the college basketball season. The series begins at the start of the 2015-16 season and will span eight years, with games played at home sites.

The unique series between the two conferences is named to honor the late Gavitt, who had a profound and lasting influence on the sport of basketball on the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

“We are excited to honor Dave Gavitt and his contributions to the sport of basketball through the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “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.”

“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,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “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.”

“To establish this new partnership in honor of one of the finest men in college basketball is tremendous,” added Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard. “Dave Gavitt and his foresight were instrumental in the growth of the game and our league in particular. He was also a mentor to so many in the sport, so it only makes sense to have his name associated with this unique, new rivalry between two of the top basketball conferences. These matchups will certainly serve as a major test for all involved, and this will raise the level of excitement as the season commences.”

“On behalf of the entire Gavitt family, we are humbled and grateful for this incredible honor in Dave’s memory from the Big Ten and BIG EAST Conferences,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Vice President of Men’s Basketball Championships and son of Dave Gavitt. “My father would love the spirit of creativity and friendship that these games represent to tip off the college basketball season. He would be most excited about the competitive experience that the games offer to the players and coaches of two great conferences.”

The Gavitt Tipoff Games will feature four home contests each for BIG EAST and Big Ten schools on an annual basis from 2015 through 2022. Two games will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the first full week of each season. Each BIG EAST team will participate a minimum of six times over the eight years, while Big Ten programs will participate a minimum of four times.

Television coverage of the Gavitt Tipoff Games will be controlled by the conference of the home team. BIG EAST home games will be telecast by FOX Sports 1, while Big Ten home matchups will appear on ESPN or BTN.

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