Most of the 2016 Gavitt Games lineup has been unofficially released with Seton Hall poised to head west to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 13, 2016
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the messenger of exciting news as he has tweeted out most of the Big Ten – Big East Challenge slate today; one game remains unannounced. The slate looks like this so far:
Rutgers at DePaul
Providence at Ohio State
Seton Hall at Iowa
St. John’s at Minnesota
Maryland at Georgetown
Northwestern at Butler
Villanova at Purdue
So outside of Maryland-Georgetown and possibly Villanova-Purdue, not too many appetizing games for the average neutral fan.
But let’s stick with Seton Hall for now.
A road game against a non-Rutgers Big Ten school means that the Hall’s schedule bulks up even more as it joins three neutral games at the AdvoCare Classic, a neutral court game in Hawaii (Pac-12?), and a potential game on the West Coast ahead of the game in Hawaii — plenty of opportunities to pick up road scalps to pad a post-season resume.
While Iowa was ranked as a top-five team in the country for a portion of this past season, they slipped down to a seven-seed in the NCAA tournament after losing six of their last eight games and eventually bowed out to eventual champs Villanova in the second round.
Fran McCaffrey, whose name faintly floated around South Orange at the time of Seton Hall’s last coaching hire many moons ago, does lose a handful of senior talent, so it may be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Hawkeyes.
55.7-percent of Iowa’s scoring is gone through graduation including four starters in point guard Mike Gesell (8.1 ppg, 6.2 apg), guard Anthony Clemmons (8.9 ppg, 3.7 apg), power forward Jarrod Uthoff (18.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and center Adam Woodbury (7.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
The key returnee to watch will be small forward Peter Jok (16.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg) while Point Pleasant Beach (N.J.) alum and one-time Hall recruiting target Dom Uhl (6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) will slot into the front court, replacing Woodbury and Uthoff.
Look for top-100 freshman forward Tyler Cook and Dale Jones (medical redshirt) to also step up, but Iowa looks awfully thin in their back court. With or without Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall should be the early favorite as the Gavitt Games take place during the first week of the season before an evolving Iowa team has time to gel.