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

NEW YORK (AP) — Defending national champion UConn will play at least five games at Madison Square Garden this season, highlighting the 2023-24 college basketball schedule at “The World’s Most Famous Arena."

Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Baylor, Illinois and Indiana are among the other high-profile programs making stops in Midtown Manhattan. In all, 10 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 preseason men’s basketball poll are on the docket at MSG.

No. 10 Florida Atlantic returns to The Garden, where coach Dusty May and the surprising Owls beat Tennessee and Kansas State in March to win the East Regional and advance to the Final Four.

St. John's, playing its first season under Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, has doubled its number of regular-season Garden appearances to eight — including six Big East home games.

It all starts Nov. 13 with Pitino and the Red Storm hosting Michigan in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. That will mark the first home game at Madison Square Garden for the 71-year-old Pitino, a New York City native, since he was head coach of the New York Knicks from 1987-89.

Six days later, No. 6 Connecticut faces Indiana in the Saavta Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. The second game of the doubleheader features No. 18 Texas taking on Louisville, with the championship and third-place game slated for the following day.

Two weeks after that, coach Dan Hurley brings 7-foot-2 sophomore Donovan Clingan and the Huskies back to MSG for a Dec. 5 matchup with No. 19 North Carolina in the annual Jimmy V Classic for cancer research — celebrating 20 years at The Garden this season. Florida Atlantic plays No. 25 Illinois in the first game of the doubleheader.

UConn also visits St. John's at The Garden on Feb. 3 and returns for the Big East Tournament from March 13-16.

St. John's hosts Big East foes 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 well.

Second-ranked Duke faces No. 20 Baylor on Dec. 20 in a Garden Classic game matching two of the past eight national champions. Duke will play at MSG for the 23rd time in 26 years, while Baylor makes its seventh appearance overall.

In addition, the Holiday Festival returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 2018 with a tripleheader on Dec. 16. Georgia Tech takes on Penn State before St. John's faces Fordham and then a women's game between St. John's and Villanova. It will be the first time women's teams participate in the Holiday Festival, held annually from 1952-2018.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball