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Villanova set to play Vanderbilt

In the fifth year of the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge, Villanova returns to the schedule.

The Wildcats will travel to Nashville to play Vanderbilt on December 1st according to ESPN's press release sent out today.

The two schools have only played once before, in the 1994 NIT Championship game which Villanova won 80-73. Jay Wright's last trip to Nashville was in the 2005 NCAA Tournament when 'Nova defeated New Mexico and Florida.

Although the SEC has expanded to 14 members, the challenge will still feature just 12 games.

The Big East won the eight out of 12 match-ups last season to take the challenge title.

The other Big East schools selected to participate include Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, USF, and Syracuse.

The 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge includes the following matchups:

Thursday, November 29
Kentucky at Notre Dame
Marquette at Florida
South Carolina at St. John’s
Seton Hall at LSU

Friday, November 30
Syracuse at Arkansas
Tennessee at Georgetown
DePaul at Auburn
Georgia at USF

Saturday, December 1
Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt
Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Mississippi

Also, according to an ESPN report, Syracuse is pleading with the Big East to get out of participating in the challenge. Athletic director Daryl Gross sent a "reply-all" email to the Big East announcement of the games -- a list including conference's ADs, coaches, officials and media relations staffers -- saying that the Orange were "overcommitted" and would not play.

They have still listed the game on their website, but of they get their way, they may be replaced on the schedule.