August may be the slowest month on the college basketball calendar, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely without updates on Villanova’s upcoming season. Over the past few weeks we’ve learned what the bracket for the Myrtle Beach Invitational looks like, we added an exhibition in Southern California to the schedule, and we now know that Villanova’s schedule will be released in September. So let’s start by updating our 2019-2020 Villanova Basketball schedule tracker:
Villanova Basketball’s 2019-2020 Schedule
|Hoops Mania||10/5/2019||Home (The Finn)||Season Kickoff Event|
|USC||10/18/2019||Galen Center (Los Angeles, CA)||Preseason Exhibition|
|Ohio State||11/13/2019||Away||Gavitt Games|
|Ohio University||11/16/2019||Home||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Middle Tennessee||11/21/2019||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Mississippi State / Tulane||11/22/2019||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|Baylor/Utah/Ohio/Coastal Carolina||11/24/2019||Neutral (Myrtle Beach, SC)||Myrtle Beach Invitational|
|La Salle||12/1/2019||Home||Big 5|
|St. Joseph's||12/7/2019||Away (Hagan Arena)||Big 5|
|Delaware||12/14/2019||Neutral (Newark, NJ)||Never Forget Tribute Classic|
|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|
|Temple||2/16/2020||Away (Liacouras Center)||Big 5|
|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|
Villanova will be tested early and often
Villanova will look to win its 7th consecutive early season tournament when they travel to South Carolina in November. Jay Wright has been close to unbeatable in the first month of the season, with a record of 38-2 over the past six years. But those teams have been filled with veteran experience. The last time Wright didn’t have a senior or a redshirt junior on the team (2012-13) he went 3-3 in the month of November. That was also the last time Villanova lost an early season tournament.
While this team is still inexperienced, it’s arguably far more talented than the team that gave Jay Wright his only losing season as a Wildcat. That talent will need to shine through quickly though, because their early season schedule will be challenging. The Wildcats will face a likely ranked Ohio State team on the road in one of their first three games of the season. Then they’ll head to the Myrtle Beach Invitational where they could face Mississippi State and Baylor, both NCAA Tournament teams last season. That’s asking a lot of a team that will likely still be trying to find its identity in the first six or seven games of the season.
The benefits of a road trip
This October, Villanova will travel to Southern California for a charity exhibition game with USC. The game will benefit firefighters and their families, a worthy cause that’s close to the hearts of those in and around Los Angeles. It’s hard to think that Villanova’s Athletic Director Mark Jackson, a former member of the athletic department at USC, didn’t have a hand in putting this one together. If that’s the case, he deserves a ton of credit as this should be an excellent early season showcase.
Not only does Villanova get a chance to play on the road against a D1 opponent early in the season, it will be a crucial teaching tool for Wright as he tries to bring along his young team. Not only will the new players get their first experience of traveling with the team, but they’ll get to experience a road game in another time zone, something they will need to be prepared for multiple times this season. Wright will get to experiment with different lineups at game speed, and really get a sense of where his team will need to improve two weeks before the season starts.
There are plenty of off the court benefits for Villanova Basketball as well. First off, California is home to a large number of Villanova alumni who don’t make it back East all that often for games. I know a number of West Coast alums have already expressed excitement over getting to see their team play without needing to fly cross-country. This trip could also help with recruiting for the Wildcats. Villanova draws players at a national level now, so it’s good for the team to play at venues across the nation so that potential future Wildcats can see them in person.
Schedule release is set
In Villanova’s press release regarding the exhibition with USC, they gave us a time frame for the full schedule release. “The complete Villanova Men’s Basketball schedule, including media coverage, will be announced in September.” Our yearly wait is just one month away!
This release will likely take place on the same day that the Big East releases it’s full conference schedule, the same as it was last year. In 2018, both Villanova and the Big East released their schedules on Thursday, September 13th, and we should expect a similar time frame this season. Be sure to check back here to VUHoops for full schedule details, analysis, and everything else Villanova Basketball!