STORRS, Conn. — UConn and Villanova, former longtime rivals in the Big East Conference, have agreed to a three-game series in men’s basketball that will begin this coming season and run through 2019-20.
The series will bring together two of the past four NCAA champions — UConn in 2014 and Villanova in 2016. The schools will start the series on Jan. 20, 2018, when they meet at the XL Center in Hartford. The second game of the series is scheduled for Dec. 22, 2018, at Madison Square Garden as a neutral-site game. The final game of the series will be held on Jan. 18, 2020, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
“We are very excited to renew our series with Villanova, and especially pleased to be able to play one of the games in the tremendous basketball atmosphere of Madison Square Garden,” UConn had coach Kevin Ollie said. “We have had so many memorable games against Villanova over the years and Coach (Jay) 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.”
UConn has an overall 31-33 record against Villanova in a series that began in 1941. As Big East rivals for 33 years, beginning in 1980-81, the Huskies were 28-31 against the Wildcats — 1-17 during the first eight seasons and 27-14 during the last 25. In their final game as conference colleagues in 2013, Villanova took a 70-61 decision at the XL Center.
UConn, however, has won five of its last six games against Villanova, including a 77-65 victory in their last meeting, on March 22, 2014, in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The Huskies went on to capture the 2014 National Championship, the fourth in the history of the program.
“UConn and Villanova have enjoyed exciting games over a long history. This series honors the great tradition of Villanova and Connecticut basketball,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. “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.”
Over the last five years, Villanova has compiled an outstanding 149-31 record (.828) and made five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including winning the program’s second national championship in 2016.
UConn’s non-conference schedule in 2017-18 will also include games at the PK80, the Phil Knight Invitational Tournament in Portland, Ore., against Oregon, either Michigan State or Georgetown, and then either North Carolina, Portland, Arkansas or Oklahoma. The Huskies will also play at Arizona, at Auburn, and against Syracuse in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The complete non-conference slate will be announced in the coming weeks.