Another Big East throwback: UConn and Villanova arrange a three-game series
Huskies, Wildcats have won two of the past four national titles; one of their upcoming games is at MSG
Bring on some more Big East nostalgia. Former conference foes Connecticut and Villanova announced a three-game series that will commence next season and be revived in 2018-19 and 2019-20. The Huskies and Wildcats also have won two of the past four (2014, '16) national titles.
In a game that could be one of the best 10 or so games of January, UConn could boost its NCAA Tournament case with a home victory over a quality nonconference opponent during a respite in the conference schedule.
"UConn and Villanova have enjoyed exciting games over a long history," Nova coach Jay Wright said. "This series honors the great tradition of Villanova and Connecticut basketball.
Big picture, it's a revival of another old school Big East quasi-rivalry after the split of what many consider the deepest conference in college basketball history. The creation of the American Athletic Conference severed a lot of northeast/East Coast basketball battles, but coaches are recognizing fans want to see these games. Syracuse has scheduled Georgetown and UConn. And UConn and Georgetown have done the same. Villanova's involvement adds a program entrenched in the top-10 for the past half-decade.
The three-game series will include a home-and-home, with Madison Square Garden serving as the meat of the sandwich. Dec. 22, 2018, will have MSG as the host, then Villanova gets a home game on Jan. 18, 2020.
"We have had so many memorable games against Villanova over the years and Coach Wright obviously has one of the very best programs in the country," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "I know our fans will be thrilled to see the Wildcats back on our schedule."
In 64 meetings, Villanova holds a 33-31 edge -- with the most recent game in the 2014 NCAA Tournament when UConn won 77-65 en route to its fourth national championship in 15 years.
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