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Villanova MBB announces 2023-24 non-conference schedule

08/15/2023, 3:00pm EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

It shouldn’t take until January for ‘Nova fans to figure out if the Wildcats’ men are for real.

Kyle Neptune, aiming to lead Villanova in a return to form after a disappointing first season back on the Main Line, will have plenty of opportunities early to get a sense for just how good his retooled squad is, as the program released its non-league schedule on Tuesday afternoon.

Villanova sophomore Mark Armstrong is part of a talented Wildcats group hoping to right the ship in Kyle Neptune's second year. (Photo: Gavin Bethell/CoBL File)

Home games against Maryland and UCLA, a trip to Kansas State and a loaded field in the Bahamas — plus a trio of Big 5 games — ensure that the Wildcats will have ample time to prepare themselves for the 20-game Big East gauntlet. 

Coming off an injury-plagued year in which they went 17-17 (10-10 Big East) and failed to make March Madness for the first time in 11 years, the Wildcats return a fully healthy Justin Moore and all-league forward Eric Dixon while adding some high-impact transfers in TJ Bamba (Washington State), Hakim Hart (Maryland), Tyler Burton (Richmond) and Lance Ware (Kentucky). That gives Neptune a roster which could last deep into the season, if all the pieces come together.

‘Nova’s men will pack in 11 games in 33 days in their non-league slate, starting with two home games in which they’ll be heavily favored against American (Nov. 6) and Le Moyne (Nov. 10), the latter of which is playing in its first year as a Division I program, in the Northeast Conference, after competing in the Division II Northeast-10 Conference. 

A “trip” to Penn (Nov. 13) is the first of two scheduled Big 5 games on the slate, along with a visit from St. Joe’s (Nov. 28); the Big 5 Classic will bring all six of the teams together (remember, Drexel’s in the Big 5 now) for a previously-announced tripleheader on Dec. 2.

The rest of the Wildcats’ schedule is all killer, no filler. The Gavitt Games (Big East/Big Ten) see Maryland come to Philadelphia, a fun game for Hart as he goes up against his former squad, including Imhotep Charter product Donta Scott, in his fifth and final year of a terrific collegiate career. There’s also a trip to Kansas State (Dec. 5) in the Big East/Big 12 Battle, the Wildcats coming off an Elite 8 appearance, and a visit from future Big Ten school UCLA — which was in the Sweet 16 a year ago — on Dec. 9 in a pair of high-level contests. 

All that’s left is the biggest highlight of the schedule, the trip to Nassau for the Battle 4 Atlantis from Nov. 22-24. The Wildcats will start off the eight-team tournament with a game against Texas Tech, with either North Carolina or Northern Iowa awaiting; Arkansas, Memphis, Michigan and Stanford round out the bracket.


2023-24 Villanova MBB Non-Conference Schedule
All game times TBD; bold games are home. Last year’s record in parenthesis

* = Big 5 Contest; #= Battle 4 Atlantis (Nassau, Bahamas)

Mon, November 6 vs. American (17-15, 7-11 Patriot)
Fri., November 10 vs. Le Moyne (First year as Division I)
Mon., November 13 @ Penn (17-13, 9-5 Ivy League)
Fri., November 17 vs. Maryland (22-13, 11-9 Big Ten)
# Weds., November 22 vs. Texas Tech (16-16, 5-13 Big 12)
# Thurs., November 23 vs. North Carolina/Northern Iowa
# Fri., November 24 vs. TBD
Weds., November 29 vs. Saint Joseph’s (16-17, 8-10 Atlantic 10)

Sat., Dec. 2 vs. TBD/Big 5 Classic (Wells Fargo Center)
Tues., Dec. 5 @ Kansas State (26-10, 11-7 Big 12)
Sat., Dec. 9 vs. UCLA (31-6, 18-2 Pac-12) (Wells Fargo Center)

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