The Virginia Cavaliers will play in the 2015 Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic, ESPN announced in a release today. UVA will take on West Virginia at Madison Square Garden on December 8th, 2015. Maryland and UConn will also square off that day, as part of a double-header. The game will air on ESPN
The neutral site game means that UVA will play in the Big Apple for the third consecutive season. The Hoos played in (and won) the Barclay's Center Classic in Brooklyn this year, and made it to the Sweet 16 in Madison Square Garden in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. (The team actually had two chances to play in MSG during the 2012-2013 year, but fell short of qualifying for the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals and the NIT semifinals.)
Even though the matchup is (exactly) a year in the future, it's nice to have a game against a quality opponent on the schedule, especially a nationally televised one. West Virginia is currently ranked 24th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings and graduate just one starter. The game will likely be about a week after UVA plays another decent game, which should be at home, as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
"We are certainly honored to play West Virginia in the 2015 Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic." Tony Bennett noted in ESPN's release. "To have an opportunity to be part of this classic and what it stands for, and to play a quality opponent at The Garden is great for our program."
The only downside? Virginia fans, who have shown up in strong numbers to games in New York in the past, will once again have the opportunity to interact with Maryland fans in the building. We just can't get away from those guys!