With 2019 officially in the books and news breaking today about Army coming to town, it’s time to update Villanova’s schedule for the 2020 season. The Wildcats are finally getting their home stand in two different series, they’ll be seeking their 7th consecutive November tournament title, the Big 5 title needs to be reclaimed, and that’s all leading up to a much improved Big East Gauntlet. Here are the games we know as of today:
Villanova Wildcats 2019-2020 Schedule
|Game 1||Unknown||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Game 2||Unknown||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Game 3||Unknown||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Game 4||Unknown||Home||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|La Salle||Unknown||Home||Big 5|
|St. Joseph's||Unknown||Away||Big 5|
|Kansas||12/21/2019||Home (Wells Fargo Center)||Big East - Big 12 Challenge|
|Uconn||1/18/2020||Home (Wells Fargo Center)||Final meeting of 3 game series|
|Butler||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Creighton||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|DePaul||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Georgetown||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Marquette||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Providence||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Seton Hall||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|St. John's||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
|Xavier||Unknown||Home and Away||Big East|
As the offseason goes on we’ll start getting more dates and details, but we’ll get into that later. Today we’re talking about what we should expect Villanova to do to finalize next season’s schedule and beyond. And lets start with by far the biggest need, a road game.
The Wildcats NEED to get out of Philadelphia. For the last five seasons the Wildcats have played at least two non-conference games at either neutral or true away locations (not including November tournaments or the Big 5). The last time they only played one of those games was 2014, and even then they went and played Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
Given the added weight the NCAA Selection Committee has given to playing and winning games away from home, it’s important for the Wildcats to travel in the non-conference. Even with such a young squad and no seniors, it’s better to get quality road experience before heading into the Big East.
The solution to at least one of those games may be a Big Ten opponent in the Gavitt Games. Villanova is in line to play their next game in this series on the road, having just lost to Michigan at home this past season. While it’s no guarantee that the Wildcats will be participating this year (most teams will get a year or two off), Nova’s current schedule would suggest that their planning for a road game somewhere and this could be it. And you know, Michigan State has yet to participate... just saying.
One More Big Game
Obviously the Gavitt Games could provide another big game this season, and Michigan State would surely be a huge one. Other big games that would be great to see in this series would be if Nova traveled to Maryland or Ohio State. But if the Wildcats aren’t in the games this season, or worse they get stuck playing at Northwestern or Rutgers, they’ll still need another big name on the schedule.
This wouldn’t have been the case if Memphis hadn’t deferred a season in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. ESPN had set up the second iteration of this newly formed tournament to feature Nova’s Top 3 recruiting class against Memphis’ Top 3 recruit James Wiseman. However, Penny Hardaway backed his team out to the following year. He clearly wanted nothing to do with Jay Wright’s dominating streak of winning titles in November, and so now Villanova is looking for another big name.
This is something Villanova’s done well in the past actually. In the 2018 season, they scheduled Gonzaga at MSG in New York as part of the Jimmy V Games. But instead of a one off, I think the Wildcats should look for something more long term.
Planning for the Future
Villanova is entering the final season of a home-and-home with Kansas and a three game series with UConn. Both of these series have been terrific for everyone involved so far, but as of today there are no future series scheduled for the Wildcats.
Villanova has done a great job scheduling these home-and-home series since conference realignment. They played Syracuse in 2014 and 2015, then Virginia in 2016 and 2017, and now Kansas and UConn. These are national brands, and as of Monday they’re also all National Champions. So with that in mind I’d love for Villanova to find a way to schedule another huge home-and-home to start in 2020.
The first school that comes to mind is UNC. Wright has a great relationship with Roy Williams, the two schools have a great history playing each other, and with two strong recruiting classes coming in its a game that would garner a lot of national attention. Along those same lines another series with Virginia would be a huge get. Of course, this may be wishful thinking now that I’ve named the three programs that have won the last four National Championships.
Other schools at the elite level that I could see working based on Wright’s relationships would be Gonzaga, Kentucky, Michigan State, or Duke. A step down from that would be schools like Florida, Texas Tech, Oregon, or Louisville. Speaking of which, there’s always the avenue of mixing it up with old Big East schools like the Cardinals, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt, or even UConn... again.
No matter what ends up happening, we’ll have all the latest and greatest with the schedule and other off season updates here for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who the Wildcats play where, as long as we’re booking tickets for Atlanta in April!