With the announcement of the Big East schedule yesterday, a lot of focus will start to shift towards key dates and matchups. For Villanova, obviously, that Big Monday contest against the defending champion Connecticut Huskies in late February will certainly be circled on many fans' calendars.
Every year, though, there's a lot of scrutiny in terms of each team's out of conference schedule. Playing in the Big 5, Villanova does not have much wiggle room for additional nonconference games. There's the potential for the Wildcats to face a stellar opponent in the 76 Classic, but a good barometer comes in the form of the Jimmy V Classic, where Nova will take on the Missouri Tigers. This affair will occur on December 6th at 7 pm under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. With Villanova fielding a very young and inexperienced roster this year, it will be interesting to see how the Cats fare in this early season game on national TV. Andy Katz also has this matchup as one of his Big East top 25 nonconference games for the upcoming season.
In regards to the Villanova-Missouri clash, Katz says,
The Wildcats are rebuilding on the perimeter, but they have plenty of experience up front. Mizzou will be one of the teams to beat in the Big 12. This is more of a home game for Villanova, unlike the Irish's test with the Tigers in Kansas City. A Wildcats win would do wonders for their confidence going into conference play.
I completely agree with Katz's last sentence. A win at the Garden could really propel the Wildcats heading into what is always a grueling Big East schedule. No better place to play well than at MSG on ESPN against a quality opponent.