Another Big East throwback: UConn and Villanova arrange a three-game series

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.

Next season's game, which will be played Jan. 20 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, might be a top-25 affair. Right now, we have Villanova slotted in the top 10. UConn is not ranked, but the Huskies are bringing back good players who missed most of last season because of injury (Terry Larrier, Alterique Gilbert). 

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. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his eighth season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics,... Full Bio

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