Purdue Basketball at Marquette the Gavitt Games Headliner? Maybe Wisconsin-Xavier?

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Purdue basketball returns to the Bradley Center, the site which witnessed the Boilermakers clinching a Sweet 16 berth, this past March. Purdue will face Marquette in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, otherwise known as FOX Sports’ answer to ESPN’s B1G/ACC Challenge. The schools sent out the Gavitt Games info just now, although it’s somewhat moot today, given how the schools handed over the news to a TV network four days ago.

That’s just how the industry works these days, after all, this is a made by TV and for TV event. The Gavitt Games have a lot of solid match-ups, but no real “killer app.” Is Purdue basketball at Marquette the headliner? You can make a case for a couple other contests too.

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Purdue basketball owns an 8-0 all-time record against Marquette, but hasn’t faced the Golden Eagles in almost 50 years, last playing in the 1969 NCAA Tournament Regional Final, won by Purdue 75-73 in overtime. The victory enabled the Boilermakers to reach the Final Four, where they lost to UCLA in the finals.

Marquette posted a 19-13 record a year ago, falling to South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

If Purdue-Marquette isn’t the headliner, then perhaps it’s Wisconsin hosting Xavier.

While Xavier and Wisconsin have faced only five times, the two played one of the more memorable NCAA tournament games and finishes in their last meeting back in 2016.

With the game tied at 63 and 2.0 seconds on the clock, Bronson Koenig took an inbound pass into the corner and hit a fall-away 3-pointer at the buzzer to clinch seventh-seeded Wisconsin’s 66-63 upset over No. 2 seed Xavier in the Second Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

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Xavier-Wisconsin and Marquette-Purdue might be the co-heavy weight title fights of this year’s edition, but there are two more match-ups which also jump at you.

Butler will travel to Maryland on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in a match-up of 2017 NCAA Tournament teams.

Maryland made an appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, falling to BIG EAST foe Xavier in the first round. Mark Turgeon’s team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2016 tournament. The Terrapins posted a 24-9 mark during the 2016-17 season, including a 12-6 Big Ten record. Maryland returns four of its top five scorers from a season ago (No. 2 scorer Justin Jackson has declared for the NBA Draft but has not hired an agent).

The Terrapins’ recruiting class features a pair of Top 75 players in addition to Duke graduate transfer Sean Obi.

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Butler is obviously coming off a sweet 16 appearance, following a season in which they were nationally ranked most of the time.

Then you have Northwestern hosting Creighton Nov. 15 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Creighton posted 25-10 record last season and earned an NCAA tournament berth where it dropped a 84-72 first-round matchup to Rhode Island. The Bluejays are slated to return three starters, including first-team All-BIG EAST selection Marcus Foster and BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Khyri Thomas.

Northwestern is coming off a 24-12 mark during the 2016-17 campaign that included a first-round NCAA tournament win over Vanderbilt.

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he complete 2017 Gavitt Tipoff Games schedule follows:

Monday, Nov. 13

Minnesota at Providence – FS1

Tuesday, Nov. 14

Purdue basketball at Marquette – FS1

Wednesday, Nov. 15

Butler at Maryland – FS1 or BTN

Creighton at Northwestern – FS1 or BTN

Indiana at Seton Hall – FS1

Thursday, Nov. 16

Nebraska at St. John’s – FS1

Xavier at Wisconsin – FS1

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Friday, Nov. 17

DePaul at Illinois — BTN (go here for more on this game)

 Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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