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UConn to Play in 2017 Jimmy V Classic

Dec. 5, 2016

BRISTOL, Conn. - The 2017 Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic doubleheader will be headlined by UConn, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Villanova -- to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The 23rd annual event will air on ESPN -- pitting UConn against Syracuse and Gonzaga against Villanova -- from the New York City's famed Madison Square Garden. Game times will be announced at a later date.

Defending national champion Villanova is currently ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll (Dec. 5), followed by No. 8 Gonzaga and Syracuse, which is receiving votes. The Orange will take on UConn tonight, Monday, Dec. 5, from Madison Square Garden (ESPN, 7 p.m.). Dave O'Brien and Jay Bilas will be on the call of the game.

"We are thrilled to welcome these storied programs to the annual Jimmy V Classic," said Clint Overby, Vice President, ESPN Events. "To have Syracuse and UConn continue their long-standing rivalry, and to start a new series between Villanova and Gonzaga, will make for great basketball during such an important and meaningful Jimmy V Classic."

The early-season event will be part of the 11th annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research -- the weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs featuring special content to help raise funds for cancer research. In nine years (not including 2016), Jimmy V Week has raised $13.7 million for cancer research. Tickets for the Jimmy V Men's Classic will be available for purchase on a future date, to be announced at a later time.

Team Highlights

  • Combined for 126 NCAA Championship appearances, 16 Final Four berths and seven NCAA National Championship titles
  • Over 80 years of combined coaching experience between UConn's Kevin Ollie, Gonzaga's Mark Few, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Villanova's Jay Wright
  • All four teams earned 2016 NCAA Championship berths with Villanova winning the title on a last-second shot, Syracuse topping Gonzaga in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four and UConn playing to the second round



Series Highlights

Syracuse vs. UConn: The 2017 Jimmy V Classic will mark 94th meeting between these two storied programs, dating back to 1956. Former BIG EAST rivals, the Orange own the 55-37 series advantage that has seen some legendary games, including the March 12, 2009, six overtime Syracuse victory (127-117) from MSG in a conference tournament quarterfinal game.

Gonzaga vs. Villanova: This will be the first meeting between the two programs.

Coaches Quotes

"It's always an honor and a privilege for our program to be asked to participate in the Jimmy V Classic. Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by cancer and we're proud to help in any way possible to find a cure for this dreaded disease.

It's also very exciting to be part of one of the first-class events on the college basketball calendar. It's another chance to renew our terrific rivalry with Syracuse and give our great fans the chance to see us play in Madison Square Garden." -- Kevin Ollie, UConn

"I have a ton of respect for what Jay and his program have accomplished. We are also pleased to be a part of an event that helps support the incredibly successful Jimmy V Foundation." -- Mark Few, Gonzaga

"We enjoy playing in New York City as much as any road venue in the country and Madison Square Garden is a familiar location for our fans, as well. The fact that it is the Jimmy V Classic is special to our program as well. Coach Valvano and our program have shared a commitment to finding a cure for cancer. Syracuse is proud to participate in this game." -- Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

"Having had the chance to spend some time with Coach Valvano as a Villanova assistant coach, it's always been an honor for me to take our team to Madison Square Garden for this special night of college basketball. The V Foundation is a tribute to Jim's vision and optimism. We look forward to taking on an outstanding Gonzaga program as we work together in the fight against cancer." -- Jay Wright, Villanova