Former Big East rivals Villanova and Connecticut have announced a three-game series, starting this coming season. We already knew about the January 20th, 2018 game at the XL Center, and assumed that Villanova would host the return leg the following year.
But the schools announced that the two will meet in New York City’s Madison Square Garden on December 22, 2018 before playing the final game of the series at the Wells Fargo Center on January 18, 2020.
Here’s what Villanova coach Jay Wright had to say:
“UConn and Villanova have enjoyed exciting games over a long history,” said Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. “This series honors the great tradition of Villanova and Connecticut basketball.
“Facing UConn was always a challenge and will be again. Coach Ollie was one of the toughest and smartest players in Big East history and he instills those same qualities in his team.”
And UConn coach Kevin Ollie:
“We are very excited to renew our series with Villanova,” added Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, “and especially pleased to be able to play one of the games in the tremendous basketball atmosphere of Madison Square Garden.
“We have had so many memorable games against Villanova over the years and Coach Wright obviously has one of the very best programs in the country. I know our fans will be thrilled to see the Wildcats back on our schedule.”
Villanova owns a 31-28 lead in the all-time series, but UConn won the last matchup in the 2014 NCAA Tournament en route to the National Championship.
This is obviously even better than originally anticipated, and the game at MSG should be one of the hottest tickets of the season given both programs’ strong alumni support in the tri-state area.
When it comes to scheduling we need more series like this, please.