Big East and Big Ten agree to basketball series

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF Coach Jay Wright knowsexpectations will be high for Villanova next season.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF Coach Jay Wright knowsexpectations will be high for Villanova next season.
Posted: May 07, 2014

The Big East Conference was looking for a way to honor its founder, Dave Gavitt, on the basketball court and the Big Ten Conference was more than willing to oblige.

At a news conference Monday in New York, the two leagues announced the creation of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a series of eight men's basketball games - four home contests each for Big East and Big Ten schools - that will be played over four straight days during the initial week of the season.

The series will begin in the 2015-16 season and continue through 2022-23.

The pairings for the first year of the competition will be announced by next month.

"Having come up in the Big East as a young coach, I saw firsthand how coach Gavitt brought our league to great heights alongside legends like coach [Rollie] Massimino, coach [Lou] Carnesecca and coach [John] Thompson," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "This should be an awesome event between conferences, with historic programs doing battle to help kick off the college basketball season."

Gavitt, who died in 2011 at the age of 73, was the Big East's first commissioner after serving as coach and athletic director at Providence. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Gavitt was "a friend and a mentor to me.

"He often mentioned that college basketball should do a better job of tipping off the season, similar to opening day in baseball," he said. "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."

Wright at the Pentagon

Wright will be among seven college basketball coaches participating in a leadership panel discussion Wednesday at the Pentagon as part of the NBA Cares Hoops for Troops program. The panel will include the winners of the 2014 men's and women's national titles, Connecticut's Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma.


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

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