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Villanova Basketball and the Bigger East

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The expended Big East schedule could spell the end of the non-con home-and-home series.

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! Today at Noon Eastern, the Big East will officially add UConn as the 11th member of the conference:

The move has been talked about all week, and at the end of the day it looks like a big win for everyone but UConn football fans. For Villanova, this checks a lot of boxes that fans have been asking for:

  • Expand to 20 conference games with a quality opponent
  • Established rivalry games
  • More competitive non-conference schedule

To that last point, until there’s a major shift the Wildcats will have most of their games planned out before the off-season even begins. The 20 game Big East schedule means just 11 non-conference games. That would include four Big 5 games and four November tournament games every season, and then a Gavitt Game and a Big 12 Challenge game most seasons. That leaves Villanova with just 1-3 games to schedule on their own every season.

What does this mean for the Wildcats non-con schedule? The biggest blow is that head-to-head series will likely be few and far between now. Unless the school schedules an exception to be out of the Gavitt Games two years in a row, it’s unlikely they’ll have an opening for another high level opponent like Virginia or Kansas. Yes, they have the Gavitt Games and the Big 12 Challenge, but that just guarantees a high major game, not a ranked opponent like the perennial power houses Nova has been able to schedule in recent years.

You may be thinking, “what about that one extra non-con game they’ll have every year?” As much as fans complain about them, that’s probably going to be a pay-to-play game, where Nova pays a smaller D1 school to come up for a cupcake game to start the season. These games aren’t as much fun, but it’s a great learning experience for young players and a good way to try things out at game speed early in the season. It’s good to have A cupcake, just too many can make you sick.

The solution could be in single game events that don’t count as early season tournaments. Think the Jimmy V Classic, where Nova last played against Gonzaga in the 2018 season. It’s not a home-and-home, but those events do give Villanova the chance to play high end opponents on years that they don’t have a Gavitt Game, or are the odd man out in the Big East/Big 12 Challenge. Of course the draw back here is that these games will be on neutral courts. That’s fine, but it’s not the same as watching Donte DiVincenzo tip in a game winner against Virginia at Wells Fargo in a revenge game after losing at their place the previous season.

Overall this is till the move that should be made for both Villanova and the Big East as the positives outweigh the negatives. But I still can’t help but wish that this wasn’t something that we may have to give up in order to move forward.

In other “news”, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl puts up a double-double in Greece, transfer waivers will be harder to get now, and lots of podcasts for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Villanova Basketball

USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team Downs Greece 72-58 in First Taste of International Competition | USAB.com
A little more than 24 hours after making the more than 6,700 mile trip from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Crete, Greece, the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team recorded a 72-58 victory over Greece in its debut international game on Wednesday night in Heraklion, Greece. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova) recorded a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds,

NBA mock draft 2020: LaMelo Ball is in a wide-open race to go No. 1 | SBNation.com
There is no clear front-runner to go No. 1 in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here’s an early look at the top prospects.

Big East

UConn Announces Decision On Big East Invitation | The SPUN
UConn, one of the best basketball schools in the country, has been seeking a Big East return, and got the decision from the conference today.

Big East to benefit from UConn addition, to be finalized this week | Rumble In The Garden
The addition of Connecticut makes sense for all parties.

Recruiting

UVA Hosts Abdur-Rahim This Weekend | Jerry Ratcliffe
It could turn out to be a very important weekend for the future of the Virginia basketball program, as New Jersey 4-star small forward Jabri Abdur-Rahim will be making an official visit to UVA this weekend.

Nike Elite 100: Top Tuesday Performers | 247 Sports
ST. LOUIS, MO - Emoni Bates, Chris Livingston and Malaki Branham were among the standouts on the first full day at the Nike Elite 100 for the top underclassmen in the country.

Max Christie - G (2021) | Bucky's 5th Quarter
Boasting prestigious offers from Virginia, Villanova, Stanford, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Florida, Northwestern, and Purdue, there is a sense that Christie is holding out for a Duke offer, a school he’s admittedly a huge fan of.

Podcasts

AUDIO: March Madness 365 with Andy Katz podcast | NCAA.com
Former UCONN Head Coach Jim Calhoun & USA Men's Basketball U19 & Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber. Calhoun talks Big East and Weber gives some great nuggets on Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

Philadelphia 76ers podcast: Darryl Reynolds talks NBA Draft, free agency | The Sixer Sense
The Philadelphia 76ers are facing a pivotal offseason. We had former Villanova champion Darryl Reynolds on the show to talk NBA Draft, free agency and more.

LightHarted Podcast with Josh Hart, Ep 2: DREAMVILLE with Ibrahim Hamad | PodParadise.com
Welcome to the LightHarted Podcast with Rising NBA Star Josh Hart (New Orleans Pelicans) & Rising Business Mogul Matt Hillman (Cut + Sew). To start our co-hosts are coming to you from Philadelp...

College Basketball

NCAA's changes to transfer guidelines will limit immediate eligibility
College football and basketball players who transfer could have a more difficult time receiving immediate eligibility via waivers.

Winners and losers of college sports' decade of realignment | Yahoo! Sports
Who has the decade of realignment blessed, and who has it punished? Pat Forde breaks down his winners and losers.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. expected to commit to Florida | NBC Sports
Kerry Blackshear Jr. is headed to Florida

NATIONAL BRIEFS: ESPN anchor Ley retires after 40 years with network | qconline.com
Bob Ley, a fixture at ESPN since the network's launch 40 years ago, has decided to step away.