Reigning champ UConn featured on MSG college basketball schedule that includes 10 ranked teams

New York – UConn, the defending national champion, is set to play a minimum of five games at Madison Square Garden this season, showcasing the thrilling 2023-24 college basketball schedule at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Among the other prominent programs making appearances in the heart of Manhattan are Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Baylor, Illinois, and Indiana. In fact, a total of 10 teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 men’s basketball poll will grace the MSG stage.

Coming back to The Garden is No. 10 Florida Atlantic, whose coach Dusty May and the surprising Owls triumphed over Tennessee and Kansas State in March, securing their place in the Final Four at the East Regional.

St. John’s, under the leadership of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino for the first time this season, has doubled its number of regular-season Garden appearances to a remarkable eight, six of which are Big East home games.

The excitement kicks off on November 13 as Pitino and the Red Storm host Michigan in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. This marks a significant milestone for the 71-year-old Pitino, a New York City native, as it will be his first home game at Madison Square Garden since his tenure as head coach of the New York Knicks from 1987-89.

Six days later, Indiana will face the No. 6 Connecticut Huskies in the Saavta Empire Classic, a doubleheader event that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. The second game of this thrilling matchup features No. 18 Texas squaring off against Louisville, with the championship and third-place game scheduled for the following day.

Two weeks after that, coach Dan Hurley will lead the Huskies, including 7-foot-2 sophomore Donovan Clingan, back to MSG for a highly anticipated showdown against No. 19 North Carolina in the annual Jimmy V Classic, which marks its 20th year at The Garden this season. The first game of the doubleheader will feature Florida Atlantic taking on No. 25 Illinois.

Duke center Kyle Filipowski (30) during the second half of a first-round college basketball game against Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament, March 16, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. The Duke Blue Devils are ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Top 25. Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

UConn will also have matchups against St. John’s at The Garden on February 3 and will return for the Big East Tournament from March 13-16.

St. John’s will be hosting Providence (Jan. 10), No. 5 Marquette (Jan. 20), No. 22 Villanova (Jan. 24), No. 8 Creighton (Feb. 25), and longtime rival Georgetown (March 9) at MSG as part of their Big East schedule.

In another thrilling Garden Classic game, the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils will go up against No. 20 Baylor on December 20, featuring two of the recent eight national champions. Duke’s appearance at MSG will mark their 23rd time in the past 26 years, while Baylor makes its seventh overall appearance.

In addition, after a hiatus since 2018, the Holiday Festival will make its return to Madison Square Garden, featuring a tripleheader on December 16. The event will start with a clash between Georgia Tech and Penn State, followed by St. John’s taking on Fordham in a men’s game. The festivities will conclude with a women’s game between St. John’s and Villanova, which is an exciting addition as women’s teams will now participate in the Holiday Festival, an event that has been held annually from 1952 to 2018.

A Final Four banner hangs during a Paradise Madness ceremony for the FAU NCAA college basketball team, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, in Boca Raton, Fla. Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky


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