Big East Big 12 Challenge Games Announced
Last night, in the midst of Game 2 of the CBI Championship that I know everyone was tuning in for (DePaul won forcing game 3 by the way) Rothstein dropped a tweet with the matchups for all of the Big East-Big 12 challenge that will take place for the first time next season, the matchups are below.
There are some very intriguing pairings and locations, but I think the most interesting part is that in year 1 of the Big East-Big 12 challenge, they got every team to commit. Meanwhile, the Gavitt Games have been going on for a few years now and still only have 8 teams from each league playing. Weird. Anyway, we’ve got some roster movement so it is tough to tell what will be good games right now, but there are some interesting notes to dive into.
The games that immediately standout are obviously headlined by Kansas at Villanova. The Jayhawks will lose some talent as Dedric Lawson will almost assuredly head to the NBA, KJ Lawson and Charlie Moore have already decided they will transfer. Villanova loses two pillars in Phil Booth and Eric Paschall but a top-5 recruiting class and returning guys like Jermaine Samuels, Colin Gillespie, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree certainly helps.
I also think that Seton Hall at Iowa State and Georgetown at Oklahoma State are going to be good games. The Hall could be in the midst of a devastating offseason with Myles Powell “testing the NBA waters” and Kevin Willard discussing Virginia Tech’s head coach opening. If both leave, the Hall is in deep, deep trouble. If they comeback, this is a top-20 team with an All-American leading them. Iowa State will lose quite a bit, but Steve Prohm has won a ton in his first 4 years in Ames and Hilton is always a tough place to play.
I am fully bought in on Georgetown’s young guards, James Akinjo and Mac McClung. The duo showed flashes of brilliance and should be able to take a step forward next season. The Hoyas do need to replace Jessie Govan, but they have a duo of 7-footers coming in and will be more guard oriented anyway. Oklahoma State had a tough year this past season, but they return a ton, especially if no one leaves early. This is a team that can compete for the Big 12 next year.
I’m not sure how or why Texas Tech is playing at DePaul, it feels like whoever decided the games meant to put TT at Marquette, since the Golden Eagles should be a far better team than DePaul next year. But hey, I’m not complaining, giving DePaul a good home game is fun for the Chicago area that cares about college basketball (me).