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Report: Texas to host Villanova in Big 12-Big East Challenge next season

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Another blueblood basketball program will be making the trip to Austin next season.

Villanova v Purdue Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Weeks after scheduling a home-and-home series with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, another marquee non-conference home matchup was added to the Texas Longhorns 2020-21 basketball schedule.

Texas will play host to the Villanova Wildcats in Austin next season as part of the Big 12-Big East Challenge, according to CBS Sports Insider Jon Rothstein. Rothstein released all 10 matchups for the non-conference clash between conferences on Wednesday.

Like Gonzaga and Mark Few, the Wildcats have been one of college basketball’s winningest programs this past decade. As always, both programs will enter the 2020-21 season with high expectations. Each team returns most of their core players and valuable experience on their roster. The Longhorns are in for two marquee home games against the nation’s best.

Villanova, a rising blueblood program behind head coach Jay Wright, went 24-7 (13-5 Big East) and finished No. 10 in the final AP Top 25 poll this season. Although top scorer Shaddiq Bey declared for the draft, Villanova’s top freshman forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is returning for his sophomore season.

Robinson-Earl, a 6-foot-9 prospect from the Kansas City area, “definitely would have gotten drafted,” Wright said. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, he was one of several players from high-profile programs who either withdrew from the draft or did not enter it.

Villanova returns four of their top five players from this past season. Along with returning freshmen Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore, they’ll be led by seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels next season. These four players all averaged double-digit scoring numbers and played over 30 minutes per game last season.

Remarkably, Villanova has yet to have a one-and-done player come through the program under Wright. This really speaks to Wright’s ability to develop his players into three-four year NBA guys.

Texas holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series against the Wildcats but have not played each other since the 2008-09 season.