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Purdue will host Villanova for 2016 Gavitt Games

It looks like the defending national champions will come to Mackey Arena next season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Another non-conference opponent has been set for Purdue Basketball next season, and it's a big one. The Villanova Wildcats, the defending national champions, will be travelling to West Lafayette in 2016 as part of the Gavitt Games, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

This will be the 3rd ever meeting between Purdue and Villanova (Nova is 2-0), and the first ever meeting on one of the team's respective home court. Many Purdue fans will remember that the last time they played Villanova, it was in the 2012 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden. Purdue fell to the Wildcats 81-89 in overtime after DJ Byrd was controversially ejected in the 2nd half. (This was Rapheal and AJ's freshmen year.) Their first ever meeting occurred on December 9th, 1995 in Anaheim, CA, where Purdue lost 50-67.

If Rothstein's source is correct, this will be the first time Purdue has played against a defending champion since they faced Florida in the 2nd round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament (Purdue lost 67-74). If I am checking my sources correctly, it will also be the first time that Purdue has hosted a defending national champion in Mackey Arena since March 4th, 1990 when they hosted Michigan (Purdue won 79-77; after MSU won the title in 2000, Purdue only played MSU once the following season, and it was in East Lansing).

Along with Villanova, Purdue will have at least 4-5 games against power conference teams in their non-con. These include:

  • Arizona State (Pac-12) in the Jimmy V Classic (Madison Square Garden)
  • Auburn (SEC) and/or Texas Tech (Big XII) in the Cancun Challenge
  • Notre Dame (ACC) in the Crossroads Classic (Bankers Life)
  • TBD opponent in the B1G/ACC Challenge (probably on the road)

Needless to say, this will not only be a big game for Purdue, but it will certainly be the hottest ticket this season for Purdue (outside of a home game against Indiana). Of course, there is only one way to react to this schedule addition: