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Report: Virginia to face Villanova at Madison Square Garden next season
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Report: Virginia to face Villanova at Madison Square Garden next season

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Virginia coach Tony Bennett talks to his team during a game against Notre Dame at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Virginia men’s basketball program has reportedly added another marquee neutral site matchup to its schedule for next season.

According to a report from college basketball reporter Jon Rothstein, UVa will face Villanova at Madison Square Garden next season.

The Cavaliers and Wildcats have been two of the most successful programs in college basketball over the past decade, combining to win three of the past four national championships. Virginia won the 2019 national title, while Villanova won the 2016 and 2018 national championships.

The teams played a home-and-home series during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Virginia defeated Villanova 85-76 at John Paul Jones Arena during the first matchup in 2015, while the Wildcats beat the Cavaliers 61-59 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in 2017.

Virginia and Villanova also played in a scrimmage at John Paul Jones Arena prior to the 2018-19 season. On Oct. 27, 2018, Villanova coach Jay Wright tweeted a picture of himself and Virginia coach Tony Bennett at JPJ Arena with the caption: “Thank you Tony Bennett for the great hospitality. Also thank you @UVAMensHoops for competing and executing with great discipline and sportsmanship. Good luck this season Hoos!”

Both programs are expected to be title contenders again next season.

Villanova is ranked No. 1 in multiple way-too-early college basketball rankings for 2020-21, while Virginia consistently earns a top 10 ranking.

The Wildcats had five players average double figures in scoring during last season’s 24-7 campaign and all are likely to return to the program next season.

The Cavaliers lose Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key from last year’s team that went 23-7, but do return point guard Kihei Clark and add Marquette transfer Sam Hauser as well as highly touted recruits Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman and Carson McCorkle.

Forward Jay Huff is testing the NBA Draft waters, but is expected to return to Virginia for his senior season.

The matchup with Villanova will be part of what is shaping up to be a tough nonconference schedule for the Cavaliers. Virginia also will compete in the four-team Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, California along with Kansas, Georgetown and UCLA as well as face a yet-to-be-announced Big Ten team in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

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