VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — In addition to La Salle and St. Joe’s (see related stories), the Villanova Wildcats and the Penn Quakers both open their 2011-2012 college basketball seasons tonight.

The Wildcats will be home, hosting Monmouth. Villanova is on a six-game losing streak; the wheels came off the Cats last season, down the stretch.  They lost their final four regular-season games and were bounced in the first round of both the Big East and the NCAA tournaments.

However, Villanova has always had success against the Monmouth Hawks, winning all seven of their all-time matchups.  That includes a 76-36 decision last December in West Long Branch, NJ.

There are just two returning starters for the Wildcats: juniors Maalik Wayns and Mouphtaou Yarou.

Meanwhile, Jerome Allen’s Penn Quakers are in Baltimore, visiting UMBC to start the campaign.

Penn is coming off a 13-15 season, which included a 71-59 victory over the Retrievers at the Palestra.  That was also one of 25 losses for UMBC last season (they picked up only five wins).

The Quakers were picked to finish fourth in the preseason Ivy League poll.  They have some firepower returning from a season ago, as three of their four top scorers are back — seniors Tyler Bernardini and Zack Rosen, and sophomore Miles Cartwright.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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