Games at defending national champion Baylor and at 2021 Final Four participant UCLA, highlight Villanova’s 11-game men’s non-conference basketball schedule for the upcoming season, which was released Tuesday .
Villanova will take on Baylor, which defeated the Wildcats in the Sweet 16 on its way to winning the national title last season, in the annual Big East-Big 12 Battle on Dec. 12 in Waco, Texas.
The Wildcats, a consensus top 10 team in the early preseason rankings, could play as many as four non-conference opponents that could be ranked in the preseason Top 25.
The highest ranked of that group might be UCLA. After the Wildcats open their season at Finneran Pavilion on Nov. 9 against Mount St. Mary’s, they will travel to Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles to take on the Bruins, who narrowly lost to Gonzaga in last season’s national semifinals.
Jay Wright’s team will also take part in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., a tournament where all four teams are likely to be ranked in the Top 25. They will open against Tennessee on Nov. 20, and will thentake on either North Carolina or Purdue the next day.
Villanova once again will be part of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, taking on former Big East rival Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7, in the second game of a doubleheader.
The Big 5 schedule also resumes after last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. The Wildcats will play their first three games consecutively – Nov. 28 at La Salle, Dec. 1 versus Penn at the Palestra,and Dec. 4 against St. Joseph’s at Finneran Pavilion. The Cats will wrap up their City Series slate Dec. 29 at home versus Temple.
Also on the schedule is Howard, which travels to The Finn for a Nov. 16 contest.
The 20-team Big East regular-season schedule will be released later this month.
The Wildcats finished 18-7 last season and reached their eighth straight NCAA tournament under Wright, who was enshrined last Saturday into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.