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Villanova to play VCU, Maryland in secret scrimmages

The secret is out!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Ohio State vs Villanova Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The secret is out. The Villanova Wildcats have two closed-door, “secret” scrimmages set up for the 2022-23 season.

They will scrimmage against VCU in Washington D.C. on Oct. 22. The ‘Cats will also square off against a familiar face, when they play Kevin Willard’s Maryland Terrapins in an Oct. 29 scrimmage.

Per NCAA rules, Division I college basketball teams are allowed to have two preseason contests, and they can choose to mix-and-match between a closed-door scrimmage against another Division I program, or schedule public exhibition games, that would also be open to fans, against Division II, III or NAIA schools.

Villanova has only had three public exhibition games since the 2015-16 season — Division II Pace University before their 2016 national title run, and then two others against Drexel (2016-17) and USC (2019-20), which were exemptions to the rule due to both exhibitions being for charity purposes.

In recent years, Villanova has held closed-door scrimmages against the likes of North Carolina, Pitt, Virginia, and most recently, Duke, before the start of last season.

VCU finished 22-10 last season and made it to the second round of the NIT. The Rams fared well in the Altlantic 10 during the regular season, going 14-4 in league play, but got upset by rival Richmond in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

As for Maryland, it was a rough season that started shaky due to the sudden departure of coach Mark Turgeon, and the Terps never recovered under interim coach Danny Manning. They finished 15-17 overall, 7-13 in the Big 10. Maryland didn’t qualify in any postseason tournament after getting bounced out upon arrival of the Big 10 conference tournament by Michigan State. However, it didn’t take them long to find a new coach.

Less than a month after Maryland’s season ended, former Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard left to take the helm of the Terrapins.

Other secret scrimmages in the Big East

Per Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, Butler, Providence and St. John’s don’t have any secret scrimmages booked, but in case you’re curious, here’s what the rest of the conference has set up:

Creighton: at Iowa State (Oct. 22)
DePaul: at Notre Dame (Oct. 23)
Georgetown: at Temple (Oct. 22), vs. Liberty (Oct. 29)
Marquette: vs. Loyola-Chicago (Oct. 15), vs. Missouri in Chicago (Oct. 29)
Seton Hall: at Boston College (Oct. 22), vs. Hofstra (Oct. 29)
UConn: at Harvard (Oct. 22), vs. Virginia (Oct. 29)
Xavier: vs. Vanderbilt at Northern Kentucky University (Oct. 30)