Villanova's Big East schedule set

Villanova will begin its 2011-12 Big East Conference basketball schedule on Dec. 28 at West Virginia.

Coming off a 21-11 season that ended with a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats also are on the road for their second game, Jan. 1 at Marquette.

They will make their home debut on Jan. 5 against South Florida.

The Golden Eagles and the Bulls will be two of three conference opponents that Villanova will be playing twice. Marquette comes to Philadelphia for a rematch on Jan. 28, and the Cats go to USF for a a Feb. 15 game. The other two-time opponent is Cincinnati (away Jan. 14, home March 3).

Villanova has yet to release its entire 2011-12 schedule so it is not known how its nine home conference games will be divided between the Pavilion and the Wells Fargo Center. But three you could probably book for the big arena in South Philadelphia are Jan. 11 versus Syracuse, Feb. 18 against Notre Dame and Feb. 20 versus Connnecticut, the defending national champion and the Wildcats' only ESPN "Big Monday" game.

The Big East also announced that Villanova will be one of the ESPN networks for five non-conference games: Nov. 24, 25 and 27 in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., opening with UC-Riverside; Dec. 6 versus Missouri in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, and Dec. 10 at Temple.

A Dec. 17 Big Five matchup at St. Joseph's was previously announced by the Hawks.

Villanova enters the new season without a scholarship senior on its roster. Its nucleus of juniors was reduced by one when Isaiah Armwood announced last month he would transfer.

Here is the full Big East schedule (start time and TV listed where available):

Dec. 28 -- at West Virginia

Jan. 1 -- at Marquette, 1 p.m., ESPNU

Jan. 5 -- South Florida

Jan. 8 -- DePaul

Jan. 11 -- Syracuse, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Jan. 14 -- at Cincinnati

Jan. 18 -- Seton Hall, 7 p.m., ESPNU

Jan. 21 -- at St. John's, 1 p.m. ESPNU

Jan. 25 -- at Louisville, 7 p.m., ESPN

Jan. 28 -- Marquette, noon, ESPN or ESPN2

Feb. 5 -- at Pittsburgh, 2 p.m., ESPN

Feb. 7 -- Providence

Feb. 15 -- at South Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2

Feb. 18 -- Notre Dame, 7 or 9 p.m., ESPNU

Feb. 20 -- Connecticut, 7 p.m., ESPN

Feb. 25 -- at Georgetown, 2 p.m., CBS3

Mar. 1 -- at Rutgers, 9 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2

Mar. 3 -- Cincinnati, 2 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2

--Joe Juliano