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Top 25 All-Time 'Nova Teams

VUSports ranks the Top 25 Villanova basketball teams of all-time based on accomplishments (and other factors) ...

Top 25 All-Time 'Nova Teams

#1: 2015-16 (35-5 (.875), 16-2 BE Regular Season Champs, NCAA 2nd Seed, 6-0 National Champions, Final AP Ranking #6, Ranked as high as #1 AP during the regular season)

With 4.7 seconds remaining in a tied National Championship game, Ryan Arcidiacono received the inbound pass, made his way up the court and dished to a trailing Kris Jenkins … Jenkins stepped into a deep jumper from the right wing and BANG, the Cats won the title on an epic buzzer-beater. For an entire year, this Villanova team was constantly badgered by the media and nay-sayers with questions about their talent level and if they were good enough to advance in March. The Cats buzz-sawed through the Big East to a third straight championship and when the NCAAs started - they were locked in. The Cats cruised throughout the opening weekend to the Sweet 16 with a 30 point first round win and a total domination of Iowa in round two. Miami was flattened by a similar steamroller effort to set up an Elite 8 battle with #1 ranked and #1 overall seeded, Kansas. The Cats won a grind-it-out game to advance to the Final Four but they still had work to do. In the National Semi-Finals, 'Nova avenged an early season 23 point loss to Oklahoma by crushing the Sooners 95-51 (the 44 point win set a Final Four record for victory margin). The National Championship win over long-time Wildcat nemesis, North Carolina was perhaps the best title game ever contested. The game went back and forth, the Cats led late only to be tied on a circus shot, three-pointer at 74. The aforementioned, Kris Jenkins dagger made it a 77-74 final. This team was led by Seniors Ryan Arcidiacono (NCAA Tournament MOP) and Daniel Ochefu (All South Region) with support from Juniors Josh Hart (1st Team All Big East, 3rd Team All-Amrican (Basketball Times, All NCAA Tournament, All South Region), Kris Jenkins (South Region MVP) and Darryl Reynolds, and Sophomore, Phil Booth (All NCAA Tournament). Two freshmen, Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, also played huge rolls in the team's success. The bench was rounded out by Henry Lowe, Patrick Farrell, and Kevin Rafferty. Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney were unavailable to play due to injury while Eric Paschall sat out a transfer season. From a final AP rankings perspective, the Cats beat #25, #10, #1, #7 and #3 over the last five games to grab the National Championship. When the post-tournament Coaches poll posted, that path was described as #25, #8, #3, #4, and #2.

#2: 1984-85 (25-10 (.714), 9-7 BE 3T, 1-1 BET, NCAA 8th Seed, 6-0 National Champions, Ranked as high as #14 during the regular season)

The University and the basketball program have received more cache out of the '85 Championship than quite possibly anything else to ever happen for the school. Georgetown was a dynasty in the making. Massimino, Pinckney and the crew denied Thompson, Ewing and the Hoyas their dynasty. Whenever the greatest moments and the biggest upsets in college basketball, all of sport for that matter, are discussed, the '85 Championship game enters the story. Sure the 10 losses seem like a lot - but 5 of them were to Georgetown and St. John's - the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country for most of the season - and fellow Big East Final Four entrants. "EZ" Eddie Pinckney (NCAA Tournament MVP and 10th player selected in NBA Draft), Harold Pressley, Dwayne "D-Train" McClain, Gary "Gizmo" McLain, Harold Jensen, Dwight Wilbur, Mark Plansky, Chuck Everson, Wyatt Maker, Connally Brown, Veltra Dawson, Brian Harrington, R.C. Massimino, and Steve Pinone - these guys won it all that night in Lexington KY and you can't ever take that away from them! They beat two #1 Seeds and two #2 Seeds in the NCAA Tournament - the only team ever to do so.

#3: 1970-71 (23-6 (.793), NCAA 4-1, National Runner-up, Final AP Ranking #18, Ranked as high as #8 during regular season)

This wasn't a deep team but it sure as heck was talented. Howard Porter, Chris Ford, Tom Ingelsby, Clarence Smith, and Hank Siemiontkowski played most of the minutes with Joe McDowell and Ed Hastings being the primary bench guys. The team actually posted a 27-7 (.794) record but the NCAA Tournament portion of that record was later vacated. All 5 starters averaged in double-figures for this explosive team that scored 90 or more points 16 times. With some NCAA experience under their belt and a #18 ranking, Villanova dispatched of SJU(PA) with ease in the first round of the NCAA tournament. After that, the Cats knocked off 3 Top 10 teams in a row. First a ten point win over #9 Fordham, then the all-time classic thrashing of undefeated, #3 Penn 90-47 to advance to the Final Four. The National Semi-Final was a double-OT win over #7 Western Kentucky that was spear-headed by Hank Siemiontkowski. The Cats would come up short in the Title game against #1 UCLA despite 25 points and 8 rebounds from Porter and 19 and 6 from Siemiontkowski.

#4: 2005-06 (28-5 (.848), 14-2 BE 1st(T), 1-1 BET, RPI #2, SOS #4, NCAA 1 Seed, 3-1 Elite Eight finish, Final AP Ranking #3, Ranked as high as #2 during regular season)

The season began with great excitement - 'Nova was ranked high early based on the strong finish in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Then, before the games began, Curtis Sumpter was injured and it was learned that he would likely miss the entire season. What to do? Fretting was not an option - Jay Wright decided to put his best five players on the floor and have at it. The four-guard offense was born and brought national attention to the program. Kyle Lowry, Mike Nardi, Allan Ray, Randy Foye and Will Sheridan were the starters. Dante Cunningham, Jason Fraser, Shane Clark, Dwayne Anderson and Bilal Benn contributed most of the minutes off the pine. The early results surprised even Coach Wright when Villanova knocked out a highly ranked Oklahoma team at the Pavilion by 11. The highlight regular season win was a 69-64 victory over #1 ranked, UConn at the Wachovia Center. The season was packed with highlights like the Lowry tip-in to win at South Bend, the Cunningham lay-up in the closing seconds to beat Cincinnati, and plenty more. Long-time 'Nova fans had to wonder if the program was cursed when A-Ray suffered an eye injury vs. Pitt in a loss at the BET … despite that loss, Villanova finished the season ranked #3 and earned a first ever #1 Seed in the Tournament. Ray was tickling the twine with jumpers within a couple days after his injury and hope was restored. After two Ws at the Wachovia Center, including a barnburner against Arizona in which both Ray and Foye dropped in 20 in a half, it was on to Minnesota. Villanova won a thrilling OT game against BC to advance to the regional final when Will Sheridan scored on a goal-tended, lay-up attempt with just seconds remaining (off the same inbounds play that beat Cincy earlier in the year). Poor outside shooting and failure to shut down Florida's bigs resulted in a season ending loss - one game shy of the Final Four. All-American, Foye (who won BE POY) and Lowry were NBA first-round picks, A-Ray finished as a 2,000+ point scorer and Coach Wright earned several National Coach of the Year Awards.

#5: 1982-83 (24-8 (.750), 12-4 BE 1st(T), NCAA 3rd Seed, 2-1 Elite 8 finish, Final AP Ranking #13, Ranked as high as #4 during regular season)

Stewart Granger, John Pinone, Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain, Mike Mulquin, Harold Pressley, Gary McLain, Frank Dobbs, Dwight Wilbur … a talented and versatile collection of players for Coach Rollie Massimino. There were two stand-out regular season wins for this team. The first was a 56-53 decision over #1 ranked, North Carolina at Charmichael. The story of that game always begins with how 'Nova escaped town via plane from Atlantic City to avoid a snowstorm and not lose out on the chance to beat #1 in a national TV game (Digger Phelps "graciously" offered to fill with his ND squad if the Cats were snowed in). Michael Jordan and company were the defending National Champions and the Cats beat them in their own gym. The other stand-out win was a classic in the series of battles between Pinckney and Ewing for Big East (and later National) supremacy. As a lean, Soph, EZ Ed dropped 27 and 22 on Patrick at the Palestra and 'Nova won 68-67. Villanova would go on to tie for the Big East title and advance to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament before losing to the Phi Slamma Jamma, Houston team in Kansas City. The Cougars, perhaps viewed best as the "Memphis" of the 80s, were destined to fall in the Title game against Jim Valvano's Cinderella N.C. State team. This was the senior year for the great John Pinone. He finished his career with over 2,000 points and over 800 rebounds. "The Pinone era" was one of the more successful runs in the history of Villanova basketball and laid the groundwork for '85. Granger was chosen 24th in the NBA Draft.

#6: 2008-09 (30-8 (.789), 13-5 BE 4th, 1-1 BET, RPI #13, SOS #31, NCAA 3 Seed, 4-1 Final Four finish, Final AP Ranking #11, Ranked as high as #10 during regular season)

This team will be remembered for toughness and senior leadership. Dante Cunningham took a huge leap forward in his senior season to lead the Cats in both scoring and rebounding while Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding spear-headed the guard play. The team raced out of the gate with a 12-1 out-of-conference record but questions lingered about a lack of big wins. That changed in Big East play when 'Nova notched big wins against Pittsburgh, Syracuse (twice), and Marquette. After a thrilling BET quarterfinal win against Marquette on a buzzer-beating Dwayne Anderson lay-up off a beautiful feed from Reggie Redding, the Cats were downed by a hot Louisville squad in the Semifinals. The NCAA Tournament was a different story. In the first round, Villanova raced from 14 points behind in the second-half to beat American and then hammered UCLA to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Next up was Duke and the Cats shut the Devils down on the way to a 23 point win. 'Nova would then advance to the Final Four for the first time in 24 years by winning a thrilling game over Pittsburgh that ended with an all-time, tournament highlight reel lay-up by Scottie Reynolds with 0.5 seconds remaining. The dream ended with a loss to UNC in the Final Four. Shane Clark, Anderson, Cunningham and Frank Tchuisi finished as the winningest Villanova hoops class.

#7: 1963-64 (24-4 (.867), NCAA 2-1, Sweet Sixteen finish, Final AP Ranking #7, Ranked as high as #5 during regular season)

Wali Jones, Eric Erickson, George Leftwich, Bill Melchionni, Richie Moore (who set the VU Soph single game scoring record by dropping 40 on Seton Hall in the last game of the regular season), Bernie Schaffer, and the fabulous, Jim Washington … a loaded team, without doubt. Kraft led the team through a 23-3 regular season with three close losses against quality competition as the only blemishes. Big wins included a sweep of Dayton, Utah and Minnesota in the Holiday Festival at MSG. Villanova knocked out #19 Providence in the first round of the NCAAs (with Moore scoring 28 points). In the Sweet Sixteen round the Cats had to face #3 Duke and weren't up to the task of pulling the upset - falling 87-73 in Greensboro. Moore was hobbled with an ankle sprain and Jim Washington fouled out mid-way through the second half against the Blue Devils. A consolation win over Princeton ended a wonderful season for the Cats (and served as a bookend win to a season that began with a win at Princeton). Wali Jones was named All-East Regional for the Tournament prior to being selected 18th in the NBA draft. Leftwich was a wonderful running-mate in the back-court with Jones. Jim Washington (along with Johnny Jones) is one of the most over-looked stud players in Villanova basketball history - in '65 he was picked #5 in the NBA draft while the fabulous scoring talent, Richie Moore, was drafted #36 that same year. Melchionni was chosen in the '66 draft.

#8: 2016-17 (32-4 (.889), NCAA 1-1, Final AP Ranking #1, Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships)

Expectations were high for the 2016-17 Cats.  Coming off a dominating run through the 2016 NCAA Tournament and a thrilling National Championship, the roster featured a great blend of experience and talent at every position.  Unfortunately, the line-up took two large blows early: Omari Spellman (the 5-Star, incoming Frosh expected to fill the shoes of Daniel Ochefu) was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and then in November, Junior Guard, Phil Booth suffered a knee injury that would eventually force him to miss the remainder of the season.  Despite the loss of two of the anticipated eight-man rotation, ‘Nova pressed on.  A thrilling early season win at Purdue, a win over Notre Dame in NJ led by consensus All-American, Josh Hart, and a heart-pounding win over Virginia at the Wells Fargo Center that the Cats won on a tip-in by Donte DiVincenzo as time expired.  These victories, the completion of a four-year sweep of the Philadelphia Big Five and a Charleston Classic title allowed ‘Nova to go undefeated out-of-conference.  In Big East play, Villanova went 15-3 to win the regular season championship and then swept three-straight at Madison Square Garden to win the Big East Tournament Title.  The 31-3 record earned Villanova the #1 ranking in the Final AP Poll and the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.  In retrospect, this was a massive accomplishment given the lack of size inside and the lack of depth due to injuries.  Jalen Brunson (1st Team All BE, All BET) was superb all season, Kris Jenkins (All BET), Mikal Bridges (BE Defensive POY), and Darryl Reynolds rounded out the starting line-up along with Hart (BE POY, BET MVP, BE Defensive POY).  The bench was primarily staffed by Eric Paschall and Donte DiVincenzo with some late season contributions from Dylan Painter inside as Reynolds suffered an injury.  The Cats were ousted by an experienced and talented Wisconsin team in the second round of the NCAAs to end an otherwise outstanding season.

#9: 1977-78 (23-9 (.718), Eastern 8 Regular Season and Tournament Championships, NCAA 2-1, Elite 8 finish)

This was the team that got the Rollie Massimino era rolling on the Main Line. After several desperately bad, seasons, this team took off and Rollie was able to turn the recruiting level up a notch. The uptick in recruiting led to the glory years of the 80's. Without this '78 squad, who knows what would have happened to Rollie and the Cats? The '78 Cats were led by Keith Herron, Alex Bradley, Whitey Rigsby, Rory Sparrow, and Reggie Robinson, as well as Marty Caron, Steve Lincoln, and a frosh Tom Sienkiewicz. Keith Herron went on to get drafted #24 in the NBA draft - graduating as Villanova's all-time leading scorer. The highlight win in the regular season was a 69-68 edging of #20 Penn at the Palestra. The Cats had a near-miss big win at South Bend when they fell 70-69 to the #6 Irish. After winning the EAA Tournament Championship over West Virginia, Villanova won a high-scoring 103-97 affair over LaSalle in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. 'Nova followed that up with a 61-60 win over #13 Indiana to advance to the Elite Eight. There the Wildcats would end their run with a 90-72 loss to a Gene Banks' led Duke team that was ranked #7.

#10: 2014-15 (33-3 (.917), NCAA 1-1, Final AP Ranking #2, Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships)

Riding a wave of confidence from the previous season and armed with the attitude that there was still something to prove after early losses in the BET and NCAA Tournaments, the '15 Cats were a team to be reckoned with. The first statements came in Brooklyn as 'Nova thrashed a ranked VCU team by 24 points and then beat Michigan on a game-saving block by Senior, JayVaughn Pinkston. Back in MSG a few weeks later it was Dylan Ennis that led the charge in a win over Illinois. The only remaining speed bump on the road to an unblemished OOC record was a home game against Syracuse. Villanova was down 5 with less than 20 seconds remaining before Josh Hart drained a wing three, the Cats turned over the Orange and Ryan Arcidiacono found a cutting Pinkston for a game-tying lay-up. 'Nova would dominate the OT and eventually finish 13-0 for the first ever program sweep of the non-conference schedule. The Cats would also tie the then program record for longest winning streak to start a season with a 13-0 run out of the gate before laying an egg and losing at Seton Hall. The only other regular season loss was at Georgetown as 'Nova finished 16-2 in the Big East to clinch consecutive, out-right regular season championships. The momentum carried over to the BET where Villanova swept three games, beating Xavier in the final, to win the second BET championship in program history and finish at #2 in the AP Poll (also a program record). The fabulous ride ended in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 when a potential game-winning 3-ball from Dylan Ennis went astray. Darrun Hilliard (Sporting News 2nd team All-American, 1st Team All BE, All BET), Ryan Arcidiacono (BE Co-POY), JayVaughn Pinkston, Josh Hart (BET MVP), Dylan Ennis (All BET), Daniel Ochefu, Kris Jenkins, and Phil Booth all played important roles in what was a great "team" effort from start to finish.

#11: 1948-49 (23-4 (.851), NCAA 1-1, Elite 8 Finish, Final AP Ranking #14, Ranked as high as #7 during regular season)

In '49, Villanova ran out to a 12-0 record before losing to Duquesne and Loyola (Ill) (2 quality programs back in that era) in back-to-back games in the middle of an 8 game road-trip. The third, and final, regular season loss was a 47-46 nail-biter at #10 Bowling Green. The Cats celebrated the return from the road-trip with a 117-25 hammering of NAMC. In that game, Paul Arizin poured in 85 pts, the second highest total in D1 history. "Pitchin' Paul" would go on to average 25.3 PPG and place 2nd on the national scoring leaders list. The gift for the 22-3 record and #14 ranking was an Elite 8 match-up with #1 ranked Kentucky. The Cats fell 85-72 at MSG despite a dynamic, 30 point outburst from Arizin. The Cats then easily handled Yale in the consolation game (with Arizin dropping in 22 pts) to finish a fabulous season at 23-4. The '49 Cats included Arizin, Joseph Hannan, Brooks Ricca, Thomas Sabol, Sherwin Raiken and Leo Wolf.

#12: 1938-39 (20-5 (.800), NCAA, 1-1, Final Four finish, Final Premo Ranking #14)

The '39 Cats were led by James Montgomery, Michael Lazorchak, John Krutulis, Louis Dubino, George Duzminski and Paul Nugent. They posted a 19-4 regular season record against a bizarre collection of teams - who knows who out of them was any good? The coolest score out of the final tallies that season was a 36-18 double-up on SJU (PA) at Convention Hall. How many different buildings have the Cats hammered the Hawks in anyway? Villanova accepted an invitation to the first ever NCAA Tournament. In game one (at the Palestra) the Wildcats defeated Brown 42-30 in front of 3500 fans. The National Semi-final was also held at the Palestra (with the winner slated to play in the National Title game in Evanston, Illinois). Villanova lost to Ohio State 53-36 despite 16 points by super-Soph, guard, Paul Nugent.

#13: 1961-62 (21-7 (.750), NCAA, 2-1 Elite 8 finish, AP #20 Final Ranking)

Jack Kraft's first season as VU Head Coach saw 'Nova race out to a 12-0 record, including a win over #17 Duquesne, before a loss at #15 West Virginia. The Cats were ranked as high as #5 during the regular season. Villanova didn't have much size but it had talent in the form of Wali Jones, Hubie White, George Leftwich, James McMonagle, and Joe O'Brien. The regular season would include another win and a loss to #17 Duquesne and a loss at #12 St. John's. In the NCAAs, the Wildcats beat #15 West Virginia by 15 in the opening round then ousted NYU before being knocked out by Wake Forest in a regional final game played at College Park MD. Coach Kraft didn't need a '78, '94 or '05 team - he simply took the team he inherited and won with them. Inheriting a Wali Jones and a Hubie White isn't a bad fate. White was taken with the 14th pick in the NBA draft.

#14: 1981-82 (24-8 (.750), 11-3 BE 1st, 2-1 BET, NCAA 3rd Seed, 2-1 Elite 8 finish)

Stewart Granger, John Pinone, Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain, Mike Mulquin, Aaron Howard, Gary McLain, and Frank Dobbs were the core of this accomplished crew. Early in the season, they knocked off defending National Champion Indiana on their way to a 20-6 mark heading into the Big East Tournament. There, Villanova would beat Seton Hall and Boston College to advance to the Championship Game against a Georgetown Hoya team with a Frosh big-man named Patrick Ewing patrolling the paint and Sleepy Floyd spear-heading the back-court. Villanova would fall short against the Hoya team which would later play in the National Championship game against the next team the Cats would lose to - North Carolina. Villanova rode a 3 seed to the regional final game by sneaking by Northeastern in a Triple OT game in round 2 and then beating #5 Memphis State in OT in the regional semifinal. The Cats gave the Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Tarheel squad a run but fell 70-60 on the doorstep to the Final Four.

#15: 2013-14 (29-5 (.853), 16-2 BE 1st, NCAA, 1-1 NCAA 2nd Seed, AP #6 Final Ranking, Ranked as high as #3 during regular season)

This Wildcat team was picked by Big East Coaches in the preseason poll to finish fourth in the newly configured league. Thrilling early season wins over #2 ranked Kansas and #23 ranked Iowa in the Bahamas fueled an 11-0 start to the season and propelled the Cats into the national rankings. A loss at #2 ranked Syracuse halted the win streak days before 'Nova's New Year's overtime win over Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse got the Wildcats off to a positive start in conference play. Villanova would advance to 16-1 entering a game against National POY Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays in Philly. Creighton was unconscious from three-point range and left town with a huge win. This 'Nova team had great bounce-back ability. The next six games were six more wins. Highlights included a stomping of Temple in North Philly that completed a Big Five sweep and the most dominant average victory margin in City Series history and an OT win at Marquette which appeared to be won on a last second shot by Tony Chennault. A horrid call led to five additional minutes of action in which Ryan Arcidiacono dominated play. After another tough loss to Creighton, the Cats would sweep the remainder of the BE slate to finish 16-2 and win the outright league title. The home stretch of the 28-3 regular season included a series of wins over conference opponents desperate for quality wins for their NCAA Tournament hopes. The season ended on a sour note with a loss to Seton Hall in the BET Quarterfinals and a loss to eventual National Champion, UConn in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. This Wildcat team was led by 1st Team All-Big East honoree, James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard, and Ryan Arcidiacono. Daniel Ochefu started in the post while Tony Chennault, Josh Hart, and Kris Jenkins provided quality bench play. Jay Wright was chosen Big East COY.

#16: 1968-69 (21-5 (.807), NCAA, 0-1, Final AP Ranking #10)

Another Villanova roster that was over-flowing with talent - Howard Porter, Johnny Jones, Fran O'Hanlon, Sammy Sims, Frank Gillen, Clarence Smith, Jim McIntosh, Bob Melchionni … This team had a stellar 21-5 record. When you look for quality wins, the one that stands out the most is the win against #8 St. John's at the NY Holiday Fesitval. Four of the five losses came in the other four games that 'Nova played against teams that finished ranked ahead of the Cats in the Final AP Poll. The famous Kenny Durrett - Howard Porter showdown at the Palestra vs. #2 LaSalle, the loss to #4 UNC, and a downer at #9 Duquesne. The fifth loss was the famous 32-30 game against Penn when the Quakers milked the clock like a bunch of scared high-schoolers and drained a deep ball at the end to pull the upset. The team suffered the ill-fate of being matched against #5 ranked Davidson in Raleigh in the opening round of the NCAA tournament - a game they lost 75-61. With a few more stand-out wins, this team would rank higher.

#17: 1994-95 (25-8 (.758), 14-4 BE 2nd, BET Champions, RPI #9, SOS #12, NCAA 3rd Seed, 0-1, Final AP Ranking #9)

This was one of the most talented Villanova teams ever: Kerry Kittles, Jonathan Haynes, Eric Eberz, Jason Lawson and Chuck Kornegay started while Alvin Williams, Zeffy Penn and Roscoe Harris provided much of the bench work. The team had some bumps in the road out of the gate but discovered itself in a 72-70 win at Florida behind some late heroics by Haynes. The next crowning achievement was a 96-73 pounding of #1 ranked UConn at Storrs. Kittles was fabulous as 'Nova won by the 5th largest margin of victory ever for a team beating the AP #1 ranked team. Including the Florida game, Villanova closed the season with a 17-2 run of some of the best basketball ever played by a Wildcat team. It culminated in a 94-78 Big East Tournament Championship win over UConn, the #9 Final AP Ranking and a 3 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Big East Championship Game victory was spear-headed by 27 points each from Kittles and Lawson.

Sadly, the team faltered in a Triple OT, First Round NCAA loss to ODU. There were so many opportunities to win but the game slipped out of the Cats claws. At times one wonders what the Massimino era would have been like had the 1982 Cats lost their Triple OT NCAA game against Northeastern as a 3 Seed instead of winning it and then advancing to the Regional Final. This loss set the stage for three consecutive seasons that ended on a sour note.

#18: 1964-65 (23-5 (.821), NIT 2-1, Runner-up, Final AP Ranking #8)

Eric Erickson, George Leftwich, Bill Melchionni, Bernie Schaffer, Jim Washington, Bill Soens, Charlie Coleman, and Frank Gaidjunas were prime contributors on this highly ranked '65 'Nova squad. Oh what may have been had Richie Moore, a stand-out performer on the stellar 1964 edition Cats, not decided to leave school. 'Nova started the season 8-0 (including an OT win over Bill Bradley-led Princeton) before falling to Wichita and Illinois in the Quaker City Tournament. Losses to Temple and #3 ranked SJU (PA) followed before the Cats thrashed then #2 ranked, 17-0, Jimmy Walker-led, Providence 71-57 in their signature win of the season (Providence finished the season ranked #4). Villanova turned down an NCAA bid and went instead to the NIT where they advanced to the Championship game. With a flu-ridden Bill Melchionni unable to contribute his best, the Cats found themselves on the wrong side of a 55-51 game against St. John's - a team 'Nova had defeated by nine earlier in the season. In a painful twist, the East Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament in '65 pitted Princeton against Providence (two teams the Cats defeated that season) and Princeton advanced to the Final Four. The spectacular, Washington was selected #5 in the NBA Draft after the season.

#19: 1969-70 (22-7 (.758), NCAA Bid, 2-1, Elite 8 finish)

The '70 Wildcats were loaded with talent - Howard Porter, Chris Ford, Fran O'Hanlon, Sammy Sims, Clarence Smith, Hank Siemiontkowski, Joe McDowell, and Mike Daly. This team achieved rankings as high as #9 in the regular season but didn't really click until the second-half of the season. A 102-92 beat-down of #17 Niagara at the Palestra was a harbinger of things to come. In one of the all-time greatest games at the old "Cat House", Villanova took down previously undefeated St. Bonaventure - handing the Bonnies the first of only two losses for the entire season (The Bonnies entered the NCAA Tournament ranked #3 in the nation). Beginning with the epic win over St. Bonaventure, the Cats went 12-2 down the stretch. The second of those losses was a revenge loss at the hands of the Bonnies in the NCAA Tournament after the Cats opened the NCAAs with a 25 point win over #17 Niagara.

#20: 1971-72 (20-8 (.714), AP #15 Final Ranking, NCAA 1-2 Sweet Sixteen finish)

A year after the run to the NCAA Title game, a Wildcat team featuring Chris Ford, Ed Hastings, Tom Ingelsby, Larry Moody, Hank Siemiontkowski, Joe McDowell, and Mike Daly earned national rankings as high as #11 as the season progressed. The finest skin for 'Nova was a 77-76 win over #6 South Carolina. Three of the eight losses on the season came to teams ranked #6 or #3. The Cats advanced in the NCAA Tournament with a win over East Carolina but fell to #3 ranked Penn in the Sweet Sixteen. A consolation game loss to #6 South Carolina ensued as the Cats couldn't reclaim the NCAA magic garnered the year before. Chris Ford would go on to be picked 17th in the NBA draft while Hank Siemiontkowski was also selected.

#21: 1950-51 (25-7 (.781), NCAA, 0-1, Sweet Sixteen finish, AP #20 Final Ranking, Ranked as high as #7 through the season)

This talented team included Thomas Brennan, James Mooney, Sammy Glassmire, Larry Hennessey, Joseph Maguire, Nicholas Maguire, and Benjamin Stewart Jr. The gaudy 25 win total included a sweep of #8 ranked N.C. State and a win over #18 Siena at the Palestra. Unfortunately, 'Nova faced the Wolfpack for a third time at Raleigh in the NCAA Tournament and couldn't pull off the hat-trick. Hennessey finished 7th in scoring nationally with a 22.0 ppg average and 703 total points.

#22: 1995-96 (26-7 (.787), 14-4 BE 2nd (BE6), 1-1 BET, RPI #5, SOS #10, NCAA 3rd Seed, 1-1, Final AP Ranking #10, Ranked as high as #2 during regular season)

The 1996 season started with high hopes - Kerry Kittles decided to return for his senior year and the Main Line was buzzing with the possibility of a deep NCAA run. Kittles teamed with Eric Eberz, Chuck Kornegay, Alvin Williams, and Jason Lawson to form one of the most scintillating starting lineups in Wildcat history. The bench featured Zeffy Penn, John Celestand, Rafal Bigus and Howard Brown. 'Nova played excellent basketball through late February - beating UNC twice and winning 14 games in a very strong Big East that featured a Ray Allen led UConn team and a dominant, Georgetown team starring Allen Iverson. The Cats were purring along at 23-3 until the wheels fell off late in the season when "Phonecard Gate" struck and Kerry Kittles was out for several late-season games. This led to an embarrassing 106-68 loss at Georgetown and the team lost its rhythm. 'Nova finished the season 3-4 in the last seven games including a 68-64 loss to Louisville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This was the sour filling in the "disappointment sandwich" that Wildcat fans were forced to eat from 1995 through 1997. Kittles would graduate as the program's all-time scoring leader and was chosen #8 in the NBA Draft.

#23: 2004-05 (24-8 (.750), 11-5 BE Reg Season (3T), 1-1 BET, NCAA 5th Seed, 2-1 Sweet Sixteen finish, #19 Final AP Ranking)

The Jay Wright era was off to a tumultuous start. A string of NIT berths and few accomplishments to show from a highly ranked first recruiting class had some people wondering "what gives". An early season loss to Temple led to more head-scratching. However, through it all, Randy Foye, Allan Ray, and Curtis Sumpter were beginning to come into their own. What they needed was a fire-breathing Philly point guard to remind them that winning was earned through toughness. Kyle Lowry came back from a torn ACL in record time and lit the Pavilion up with some exciting play against Penn. The next game was an 84-46 hammering of West Virginia at the Pavilion that showed what this team was capable of becoming. After a couple of controversial close losses to Georgetown and BC, the team made a statement. In the face of a blizzard and inspired by "the punch", Villanova rocked #2 Kansas by 21 points at the Wachovia Center and it was "game on". Villanova would not only break the string of seasons without an NCAA bid that reached back to 1999 … rousing wins over New Mexico and Florida in Nashville also broke the Sweet-Sixteen-less string that reached all the way back to 1988. An injury to Curtis Sumpter in the Florida game kept him out of the Sweet 16. Villanova was forced to play rather small and came within a phantom travel call against Allan Ray of knocking off eventual National Champion UNC in the Sweet Sixteen. Like the 1994 Cats did for Lappas and the 1978 Cats did for Massimino, the 2005 team put the Villanova program back on the fast track.

#24: 1996-97 (24-10 (.705), 12-6 Reg Season BE (Tied for 1st in BE 6), 2-1 BET (runner-up to BC), RPI #8, SOS #3, 4th Seed in NCAA Tournament (went 1-1 (32nd Place)), #20 in Final AP Poll This team had many significant accomplishments - yet few of them stand out years later. The season began with mega-hype and a Top 5 national ranking. Tim Thomas came in as the #1 ranked recruit in the country (and went on to win National Freshman of the Year honors). He melded with an experienced group led by Seniors Alvin Williams and Jason Lawson. Those three were joined by Chuck Kornegay and John Celestand as the starters while Howard Brown, Malik Allen, Rafal Bigus, T.J. Caouette, and Brian Lynch formed the bench. Thomas, Williams and Lawson all were selected in the NBA Draft. Thomas was chosen at #7 overall. The Cats were ranked as high as #4 but in the end it was the painful losses and unfilled expectations that are etched in the memories of 'Nova fans: losing to a not-so-great Duke team in Philly by 8 pts, losing by 37 points at Kentucky, losing to BC in the BET Championship game (by 12 points) and then losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to a far-from-stellar, California team. This squad lacked a defensive mindset and it seemed to lack the intestinal fortitude to just go out and win the big game. The losses to Duke and Kentucky and the failure to advance in the NCAA Tournament keep this team relatively low in this ranking. In the end, there were too many "what ifs" and 10 losses for a very talented squad.

#T25: 2009-10 (25-8 (.758), 13-5 BE 2T, 0-1 BET, RPI #11, SOS #22, NCAA 2nd Seed, 1-1, Final AP Ranking #9, Ranked as high as #2 during regular season)

There were high hopes for this Wildcat team given the return of five players from the 2009 Final Four run and an influx of six new talented players. Scottie Reynolds, Reggie Redding, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena were the experienced core and Coach Wright was tasked with blend in Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheek, Mouphtaou Yarou, Isaiah Armwood, Taylor King and Maurice Sutton. Logic would dictate that the team would experience some difficulties early and improve as the season progressed. However, the schedule was back-loaded. An early upset was dodged against George Mason when Armwood knocked down a game winning three-ball - propelling the Cats to a championship in the Puerto Rico Tournament. Villanova continued to find ways to win games - at Maryland, two tight ones against Marquette, a gritty comeback at Louisville behind a fabulous second-half from Reynolds. After an impressive dismantling of West Virginia in Morgantown and a home win against Providence, 'Nova was sitting pretty at 22-2 and seemed poised for another big run in March. It wasn't to be - the team needed more defense and rebounding. Line-up changes intended to shore up the defense in preparation for the stretch run led to some difficulties. Villanova would finish the season 3-6 - losing in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals, barely edging #15 Seed Robert Morris in the opening round of the NCAAs and then getting bumped out in round two by a mediocre St. Mary's (CA) squad. The disappointing ending to the season over-shadowed significant accomplishments - such as the #9 finish in the AP poll and the months of superior play. Additionally, a series of off-the-court issues resulted in missed games and a loss of team rhythm. All of that aside, this team played some scintillating, fast-paced hoops for much of the season and simply found a way to win games. Scottie Reynolds was named to several All-America teams and finished #2 on the Cats all-time scoring list with 2222 points.

#T25: 1949-50 (25-4 (.862), AP #11 Final Ranking, No Post-season)

Paul Arizin's senior year on the Main Line resulted in quite a season. The team featured "Pitchin' Paul", Thomas Brennan, Joseph Hannan, Sherwin Raiken, Brooks Ricca, Thomas Sabol, and Leo Wolf. The four losses included two at the Sugar Bowl Tournament - the first an excruciating 57-56 loss in OT to the eventual AP#3 ranked Kentucky Wildcats and the other a loss to host Tulane. The stand-out wins for this squad included a win at #5 ranked N.C. State and a 17 point thrashing of #6 ranked Duquesne at the Palestra. Despite closing the season with the win over Duquesne and finishing with a #11 ranking, the Cats did not play in the post-season. Paul Arizin earned All-American honors and won the national scoring title with 25.3 PPG. The team led the NCAA in scoring at 72.8 PPG. After the season, Arizin was chosen 3rd in the NBA draft while Brooks Ricca and Leo Wolf were also selected.

The data:

Rank

Coach

Year

W

L

Win %

Final AP

Post Season

Place

Conf. Titles

1

Jay Wright

2016

35

5

0.875

6

NCAA

1

BER

2

R.V. Massimino

1985

25

10

0.714

NCAA

1

3

Jack Kraft

1971

23

6

0.793

18

NCAA

2

4

Jay Wright

2006

28

5

0.848

3

NCAA

8

BER

5

R.V. Massimino

1983

24

8

0.750

13

NCAA

8

BER

6

Jay Wright

2009

30

8

0.789

11

NCAA

4

7

Jack Kraft

1964

24

4

0.857

7

NCAA

16

8

Jay Wright

2017

32

4

0.889

1

NCAA

32

BER/T

9

R.V. Massimino

1978

23

9

0.718

NCAA

8

E8R/T

10

Jay Wright

2015

33

3

0.917

2

NCAA

32

BER/T

11

Al Severance

1949

23

4

0.851

14

NCAA

8

12

Al Severance

1939

20

5

0.800

P14

NCAA

4

13

Jack Kraft

1962

21

7

0.750

20

NCAA

8

14

R.V. Massimino

1982

24

8

0.750

NCAA

8

BER

15

Jay Wright

2014

29

5

0.853

6

NCAA

32

BER

16

Jack Kraft

1969

21

5

0.807

10

NCAA

32

17

Steve Lappas

1995

25

8

0.757

9

NCAA

64

BET

18

Jack Kraft

1965

23

5

0.821

8

NIT

2

19

Jack Kraft

1970

22

7

0.758

NCAA

8

20

Jack Kraft

1972

20

8

0.714

15

NCAA

16

21

Al Severance

1951

25

7

0.781

20

NCAA

16

22

Steve Lappas

1996

26

7

0.787

10

NCAA

32

23

Jay Wright

2005

24

8

0.750

19

NCAA

16

24

Steve Lappas

1997

24

10

0.705

20

NCAA

32

BER

T25

Jay Wright

2010

25

8

0.781

9

NCAA

32

T25

Al Severance

1950

25

4

0.862

11

Honorable Mention: 1955, 1960, 1979, 2008, 1980, 1988

U

R.V. Massimino

1980

23

8

0.741

NCAA

32

EAR/T

U

R.V. Massimino

1988

24

13

0.648

NCAA

8

U

Al Severance

1960

20

6

0.769

17

NIT

8

U

Jay Wright

2008

22

13

0.629

NCAA

16

U

Al Severance

1955

18

10

0.642

NCAA

16

U

R.V. Massimino

1979

15

13

0.535

E8R


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