The day after Labor Day is usually a time when people have remorse because summer is unofficially over. But this year Villanova aided their basketball fans by releasing their complete schedule for the 2015-16 season. Comments of sadness directed to the departure of summer were replaced by rejoice in the anticipation of another basketball season. For the most committed ‘Nova fans, their calendars will be marked on November 13, 2015 at 7PM, when Jay Wright and his crew will take on Farleigh Dickinson University at home to begin the season.
When it comes to the non-conference schedule there are three important facts to know. First off, Villanova will travel to Brooklyn, NY, on Thanksgiving weekend to take on Pac-12 school Stanford on Nov. 26th. They will then face either Georgia Tech or Arkansas on Nov. 27th in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
In addition, Villanova will continue their intracity rivalry by competing against all other City 6 schools, with the exception of Drexel. Their first game will be on December 1st at Saint Joseph’s.
The last notable event about their non-conference schedule is when the Wildcats will travel to Pearl Harbor and play Oklahoma to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It should be a challenging game because Oklahoma returns four starters from a Sweet 16 team.
The most challenging non-conference game will be on December 19th when ‘Nova travels to Charlottesville and takes on Virginia. Tony Bennett has raised the stature of the Cavalier program by bringing it to their first Sweet 16 game in 2014 since Ralph Sampson was on the roster in 1983. The team’s intense defense allowed a mere 51.4 points against a game last season under Bennett and could give the Wildcats some fits.
Villanova starts off the new year playing their first conference game on Jan. 2 at Creighton. ‘Nova is expected to contend for another Big East crown, but there will certainly be some obstacles along the way. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Georgetown will clash with the Wildcats first on January 16thn in Washington D.C and then again on March 5th at the Pavilion. It is safe to say that Hoya fans still resent the outcome of the 1985 NCAA Championship game where Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas were upset by Ed Pinckney and the Wildcats.
The Providence Friars will also be a tough matchup mainly because Kris Dunn decided to return for another year much to the chagrin of Big East fans outside of Friartown. The Friars will visit Philly on Jan. 23rd and the Wildcats will travel up to Providence on Feb. 6th. A surprise team in the Big East could be Seton Hall who returns 2014 McDonald's All-American Isiah Whitehead and 2015 Big East Rookie of the Year Angel Delgado. While the Pirates had a dismal finish last year they, along with Georgetown, were the only two Big East teams to beat Villanova.
Villanova will then have the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden from March 9-12. It is easy to believe that Villanova will have success this year and win their share of games, but will another early exit in the NCAA tournament tarnish the entire season for ‘Nova Nation? We’ll just have to see.
For the complete schedule see here.
- Tom McAlister
Photo courtesy of philly.com
-(1) Villanova defeats (3) Michigan in the National Championship