Monday, May 5, 2014

Big East-B1G Challenge

It was announced today that the Big East and B1G will begin a season-opening "challenge" beginning with the 2015-16 season. It will be known as the "Gavitt Tipoff Games", named after Big East founder, Dave Gavitt. The games will be played over 4 nights of the opening week beginning on Tuesday, ending on Friday with two games per night. Games will be played at home campuses or arenas. The contract runs through 2022 and guarantees each B1G team will play at least 4 times during this stretch and Big East teams will play at least 6 times.

The B1G will also continue with its annual ACC-B1G challenge, which is aired exclusively on ESPN family of networks. This new series will have TV controlled by the home schools. The Big East will certainly put the games on FoxSports1. Fox owns 51% of the B1G TV Network, so it's likely they will air home games from B1G schools on the B1G Network.

The TV part of this is interesting from the standpoint B1G TV rights are up for grabs in a few years. ESPN is favored to retain those rights but expect Fox to make a serious run at them to fill air time and help legitimize the network as a major player in sports programming.

This series will not include annual match ups between Marquette-Wisonsin, Creighton-Nebraska and Seton Hall-Rutgers (snickers). Also, the games will not be scheduled based on geography but similar to the ACC-B1G Challenge where similarly competitive teams play. Next year's games would probably look something like this:

Villanova vs. Wisconsin
Creighton vs. Michigan
Providence vs. Iowa
Xavier vs. Michigan State
St. John's vs. Nebraska
Georgetown vs. Ohio State
Marquette vs. Maryland
Seton Hall vs. Minnesota

Certainly, at this moment, it helps the Big East more in adding another quality opponent. Either way, it's a fun concept to open the season for both leagues. College basketball has never done opening week well. Things like this should help. Sounds like a Big XII-SEC Challenge will be announced at some point, too.

These things are silly from the standpoint nothing is "settled" but give fans something to look forward to and are better than opening the season against Alcorn State

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Early Top Ten

Now that all the Early Entrants have declared and Myles Turner selected a college we can take a quick look at next year’s early top 10.

1.       Kentucky – With the Harrison’s returning they have the most talent by far.  The only questions is can all these player co-exist with only 1 ball?

2.       Wisconsin – Returns all but Brust and I expect Nigel Hayes to be huge next year.  The class of the Big 10

3.       Duke – The #1 recruiting class and finally a big man in the post.  Everybody love Okafor and their guards but I’m excited to see Jefferson play at the 4

4.       Arizona – Yes, they lost Gordon and Johnson but their bigs return and Stanley Johnson is a stud.

5.       Villanova – only lose 1 starter from a 29 win season.  No sneaking up on people next year

6.       Texas – Myles Turner moves them into the top 10.  No defections and still very young.

7.       North Carolina – A solid recruiting class and Marcus Paige back.  JP Tokoto is primed for a big year

8.       Wichita State – Cleanthony is gone but their 3 guard tandem is all back

9.       Kansas – It doesn’t matter who they lose, they just keep reloading and winning Big 12 titles

10.   SMU – maybe a little high but I like what Emmanual Munday will bring

11.   Gonzaga – As an added bonus you get the 11th team in my list.  Bell and Pangos return but I’m excited to see what Kentucky transfer, Kyle Wiltjer can do.