Villanova prepared for next chapter with Huskies

A few old Big East friends will meet again Saturday night in Buffalo when No. 2 Villanova and No. 7 UConn meet in the NCAA Tournament’s third round. Nova leads the series 33-30 all-time and the Wildcats won the only meeting between the teams last season, 70-61 at the XL Center, in UConn’s last year in the Big East.

“We’re used to those battles,” said Nova’s James Bell, after his team beat Milwaukee 73-53 Thursday night. “Like I said, they’re a great team, well coached, great players and you want to play against the best. We can say that, to get this far, they have to be a great team. This is what this time of year is about.”

With three former old Big East teams in Buffalo, it’s been a bit of a reunion this week for the Huskies, Wildcats and Syracuse, which plays Dayton in the other Saturday game.

“I’m a big Kevin Ollie fan, man,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “I remember him when he was an assistant and I remember Jim (Calhoun) telling me … this guy is going to be really good. This guy is going to be a great head coach someday. It was four years ago, and he’s right.”

William Paxton