Virginia set to take on Villanova in Madison Square Garden

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics

Virginia, which is projected to be one of the top teams in the nation next season, is set to meet Big East powerhouse Villanova in Madison Square Garden. The Cavaliers and Wildcats are scheduled to tip off at noon on Saturday, Dec. 19.

UVA officially announced the matchup details on Thursday. The game will be televised nationally on FOX. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports broke the news Wednesday afternoon.

“We are excited to announce this nonconference game against Villanova at Madison Square Garden,” said UVA head coach Tony Bennett. “We have great respect for coach Jay Wright and his program, and look forward to playing the Wildcats in a terrific environment.”

The two programs own three of the last four national championships.

Villanova, coached by Wright in his 20th season at the Philadelphia school, has become friends with Bennett, who is going into his 12th year in Charlottesville. Not only did the two programs play home-and-home in 2016 and ‘17, each winning on their home floors, but they also often scrimmage in the preseason.

Virginia is 5-3 all-time against the Wildcats.

“We are thrilled that two of the top college basketball programs in America are squaring off at Madison Square Garden this winter,” Joel Fisher, MSG Marquee Events/Operations executive vice president, said. “Villanova and Virginia have won three of the last four NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, so this will be a treat for New York-area fans and a highlight of The Garden’s college basketball schedule next season.”

Villanova finished last season 24-7 overall (13-5 in the Big East) and was co-champions of its league along with Creighton and Seton Hall. The Wildcats finished No. 10 in the AP voting.

Virginia finished 23-7 (15-5 in the ACC) and 16th in the AP poll. The Cavaliers ended the regular season on a hot streak, winning 11 of their last 12 games, including wins over No. 7 Duke and No. 10 Louisville during an eight-game winning streak to end the campaign. 

UVA was scheduled to meet Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals, but the event was cancelled due to the Covid-10 pandemic.

Comments

  1. Frank says:

    Two great programs, two great teams and two great coaches locking horns at MSG: doesn’t get any better than this!

    Regular season, that is!

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