By Annie Ross

The 2018 NCAA national champion Villanova Wildcats will start defense of their title against the best!

They’ll host Michigan as part of the Gavitt Games on Nov. 14 and visit Kansas Dec. 15.

The Wildcats downed the Jayhawks 95-79 in the Final Four in San Antonio and then upended the Wolverines 79-62 to claim Villanova’s second NCAA crown in the past three seasons.

Other pre-BIG EAST highlights include Big Five clashes against La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s and Temple; a Thanksgiving visit to Florida for the Advocare Invitational; the return of former Villanova associate head coach Baker Dunleavy, who will bring his Quinnipiac squad to visit the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 10; and a clash with former BIG EAST rival Connecticut in New York City three days before Christmas (Dec. 22).