Villanova and Virginia, the two most recent NCAA men’s basketball champions, announced Thursday that they will meet Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Wildcats won the national championship in 2018 in San Antonio and the Cavaliers captured the 2019 title in Minneapolis. The teams split a two-game series a few years ago, with Virginia winning, 86-75, at home on Dec. 19, 2015, and the Wildcats answering with a 61-59 victory at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 29, 2017, on Donte DiVincenzo’s tip-in at the buzzer.
“We are always excited to play Virginia,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “We have great respect for [Virginia coach] Tony Bennett, his program, and the University of Virginia. It’s a pure thrill for all of us to get to play this matchup at Madison Square Garden.”
The Wildcats also are scheduled to play in the Garden on Nov. 19-20 as part of the Empire Classic along with Michigan, Baylor, and North Carolina State.
Villanova compiled a 24-7 record and grabbed a share of the Big East regular-season championship before the 2019-20 season was halted March 12 by the coronavirus pandemic. Virginia finished the season at 23-7 and tied for second in the ACC.