Just over a month after it was announced that Indiana/Louisville and Maryland/Villanova would be the match ups in next season’s Jimmy V Classic, there’s been a scheduling change.
While the matchup between the Hoosiers and Cardinals remains as is, Villanova will now play Illinois in the event on Tuesday, December 9 according to the Champaign News-Gazette. Maryland will play in the 2016 edition of the event. Interestingly enough the last time Illinois played at Madison Square Garden was in 2010, as they beat Maryland in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Illinois finished the 2013-14 season with a 20-15 record, falling to Clemson in the second round of the Postseason NIT. John Groce’s Fighting Illini return their top two scorers from that team in guards Rayvonte Rice (15.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Tracy Abrams (10.7, 3.5, 3.2), but they’ll be inexperienced in the front court with Nnanna Egwu being the most experienced returnee.
Villanova returns four of its top five scorers from a team that finished the 2013-14 season with a 29-5 record and won the Big East regular season title. Jay Wright’s Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by eventual national champion UConn in the Round of 32.