Villanova University's men's basketball team has competed in basketball since the 1920–1921 season. Nicknamed the "Wildcats", Villanova is a member of the Big East Conference and the Philadelphia Big Five.

They were national champions in 1985, 2016, and 2018. Their 1985 NCAA Championship as an 8 seed still stands as the lowest seed ever to win the title. The game is referred to as "The Perfect Game" as they shot a record 78.6% as a team for the game. Their 2016 NCAA Championship, is referred to as "The Perfect Ending" and is the only the second NCAA Men's Championship game to be won on a buzzer beater. They made the Final Four in 1939, 1971, 1985, 2009, 2016, and 2018; their 6 appearances are 13th most all-time. As of 2018, They have an NCAA Tournament record of  64–36 (.640). Villanova has defeated 6 #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament (Michigan 1985, Georgetown 1985, Pittsburgh 2009, Kansas 2016, North Carolina 2016, and Kansas 2018), which is the 6th most all-time. The Villanova Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 37 times, the 8th highest total in NCAA history. They have won the Big East regular season championship 8 times, most recently winning 4 straight from 2014–2017. They won the Big East Tournament in 1995, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Villanova entered the 2016–2017 season with an all-time winning percentage of (.648), placing the Wildcats tied for 13th among all NCAA Division I basketball programs. As of the end of the 2015–16 season Villanova has 1,685 wins, which is 26th among Division I men's basketball teams. Villanova has won the Philadelphia Big Five 25 times which is the second most of any team, including 4 straight from 2014–2017. Villanova has appeared in the NIT 17 times, winning in 1994.

By the Numbers

  • NCAA National Championships – 3
  • NCAA Final Four – 6
  • NCAA Elite Eight – 14
  • NCAA Sweet Sixteen – 18
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances – 37
  • National Coach of the Year – 2
  • Conference Regular Season Championships – 11
  • All Americans – 20
  • Weeks Ranked as AP #1 Team – 19
  • 30 Win Seasons – 5
  • Philadelphia Big 5 Championships – 25
  • Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year – 20
  • Winning Seasons – 78

History

Early years (1920–1936)

Villanova began its varsity basketball program in 1920. Michael Saxe coached for six seasons, from 1920–1926, compiling a 64–30 record (.681). John Cashman coached three seasons, from 1926–1929, compiling a 21–26 record (.447). George "Doc" Jacobs coached seven seasons, from 1929–1936, and had a 62–56 record (.525).

The team played its first game in 1920 in Alumni Hall on Villanova's campus, beating Catholic University 43–40. In the early years, Villanova's home courts were Alumni Hall and West Catholic High School. The Wildcats moved into the Villanova Field House (now known as the Jake Nevin Field House) in 1932. Villanova also played many home games at the Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1929. The Wildcats played home games in both the Villanova Field House and the Palestra until 1986.

Al Severance era (1936–1961)

Alexander Severance coached Villanova for 25 seasons, from 1936 to 1961. It was under Severance's leadership that Villanova's basketball program rose to prominence. Severance compiled a 413–201 record (.673).

The 1938–39 team won the first ever NCAA Tournament game, which put them in the inaugural Final Four. Severance led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament again in 1949, 1951, and 1955. Villanova earned NIT bids in 1959 and 1960.

The most storied player in Villanova history, Paul Arizin, played during this era. Severance discovered Arizin, already a Villanova student, playing basketball in the Villanova Fieldhouse. Arizin holds the Villanova record for most points in a game (85), and is credited with inventing the jump shot and was the 1949 College Player of the Year. Other notable players from the Severance era include Joe Lord, Larry Hennessy, Bob Schafer and George Raveling.

Coincidentally, Severance died on April 1, 1985, which was the same day that Villanova upset Georgetown University and Patrick Ewing to take the NCAA basketball championship.

1939 Final Four

The inaugural NCAA Tournament featured eight teams from throughout the country. Villanova, representing the Middle Atlantic States, beat Brown, representative of the New England States, 43–40 before a crowd of 3,500 at the Palestra. The following night, the Wildcats lost to Ohio State 53–36 in the Eastern Division Championship.

Jack Kraft era (1961–1973)

Jack Kraft coached Villanova for 12 years, from 1961 through 1973. He compiled a 238–95 record (.715). Kraft led Villanova to the NCAA Tournament six times, and five times to the NIT. Only once did Kraft's teams fail to earn a post-season bid, in his final season. The 1971 team, led by Howard Porter, reached the NCAA Championship game, and lost to UCLA at the height of the UCLA dynasty.

Notable players during the Jack Kraft era include: Chris Ford, Tom Ingelsby, Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni, Howard Porter, Jim Washington, and Hubie White.

1971 NCAA Finalist

On March 27, 1971, Villanova made its first appearance in an NCAA basketball tournament championship game. The unheralded Wildcats took on the legendary John Wooden and his mighty UCLA Bruins. The 28–1 UCLA squad featured Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, Henry Bibby, and Steve Patterson. Going into the title game, the Bruins had won six of the previous seven NCAA championships, including the previous four.

Jack Kraft's Villanova squad, nicknamed the "Iron Men", was made up of just nine players. Led by Howard Porter, Clarence Smith, Hank Siemiontkowski, Chris Ford, Tom Ingelsby, Bob Gohl, Mike Daley, John Fox and Joe McDowell. Villanova amassed a 27–6 record, including a shocking 90–47 victory over a previously undefeated powerhouse Penn squad.

Villanova fought from behind for most of the game, twice cutting the lead to three in the final minutes. Villanova lost by six, 68–62. Up to that time, the six-point loss was the narrowest spread of UCLA's six NCAA title game victories.

Despite the loss, Villanova's Howard Porter was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Porter was later stripped of the award and the team's NCAA victories were vacated after it was discovered that Porter had violated NCAA rules because he had signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association during the middle of his senior year.

Rollie Massimino era (1973–1992)

During Rollie Massimino's tenure, the Villanova Wildcats abandoned their traditional independent status by joining the newly formed Eastern Eight Conference in 1975. In 1980, the 'Cats moved into the new Big East Conference, along with Georgetown, St. John's, and Syracuse. The 1980s were the golden age of the Big East, highlighted by the 1985 NCAA Tournament, when Villanova, Georgetown, and St. John's reached the Final Four.

Massimino's teams had tremendous success in the NCAA Tournament, usually in an underdog role. Coach Massimino led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament eleven times, winning in 1985. His teams reached the Elite Eight five times in an eleven-year span: 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1988. Coach Massimino's teams were well-prepared for the Tournament, always playing a difficult schedule, and playing tenacious defense. Massimino lost their opening game in the NCAA Tournament only once, to Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson-led LSU in 1990.

Massimino coached for 19 seasons at Villanova, compiling a record of 357–241 (.596). In the NCAA Tournament, Massimino had a 20–10 record (.667).

Notable players from the Massimino era include Alex Bradley, Stewart Granger, Keith Herron, Dwayne McClain, Harold Jensen, Ed Pinckney, John Pinone, Harold Pressley, Rory Sparrow, and Doug West.

In 1976, the Wildcats played their first game in the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Because of the greater seating capacity, the 'Cats generally played a few home games each year at the Spectrum until the opening of what is now known as the Wells Fargo Center. Villanova christened its current home court as John Eleuthère du Pont Pavilion, now the Pavilion, with a 64–62 victory over Len Bias led Maryland squad on February 1, 1986.

1985 National Champions

In 1985, under the direction of coach Rollie Massimino, the men's basketball team completed one of the most surprising runs in NCAA tournament history by winning the national championship in the first year of the 64-team field. The eighth-seeded Wildcats (unranked in the final AP poll) beat Dayton (at Dayton), top-seeded Michigan, Maryland and second-seeded North Carolina to win the Southeast Regional en route to the Final Four in Lexington, Kentucky. After defeating 2-seed Memphis State in the national semifinals, Villanova met defending champion and ten-point-favorite Georgetown, led by Patrick Ewing, in the title game on April Fools' Day.

Top-seeded Georgetown had beaten conference rival Villanova twice during the regular season, and had reached the title game with tenacious defense, which gave up less than 40% of their opponents' shots from the field in both the regular season and the postseason. Before the championship game, Massimino told his team they had to play a perfect game in order to beat Georgetown. In perhaps the greatest shooting performance in NCAA history, the Wildcats went 22-of-28 from the field to convert a blistering 78.6% of their shots, including a second half where they missed only one basket. The Hoyas hung tough, converting 55% of their 53 attempts, but were unable to overcome the astounding shooting performance as Villanova won 66–64 to claim the NCAA championship. The Wildcat squad remains the only eight-seed and the lowest overall seed in tournament history to win the championship, and their overall team shooting percentage remains an NCAA tournament record for a single game. The game is often cited among the greatest upsets in college basketball history. Ed Pinckney, who shot 5-of-7 and had 16 points in the game, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. This game is featured in the book The Perfect Game by Frank Fitzpatrick.[3]

In an ironic coincidence, Al Severance, Villanova's coach for 25 years from 1936 to 1961, died on April Fools' Day, April 1, 1985, which was the same day that Villanova won the NCAA Championship.

Steve Lappas era (1992–2001)

The Steve Lappas era was marked by extraordinarily strong regular seasons, including teams that won Villanova's only NIT and their first Big East Tournament Championship. However, Lappas' teams are also remembered for their underachieving performances in NCAA Tournaments.

Lappas compiled a very respectable record of 174–110 (.613) during his years at Villanova. The 1994 and 1995 teams, led by Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson, Eric Eberz, and Alvin Williams, won the NIT and Big East Tournaments, respectively. However, five nights after their victory in the 1995 Big East Championship, the Wildcats lost a triple-overtime thriller to underdog Old Dominion on St. Patrick's Night in Albany, New York in a 1st round NCAA game many Villanova fans consider the most painful loss in Villanova history.

Under Coach Lappas, Villanova reached the NCAA Tournament in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1999, compiling a disappointing 2–4 record.

Notable players in the Lappas era include Michael Bradley, Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson, Tim Thomas, John Celestand and Alvin Williams and Eric Eberz.

Villanova began playing a few major home games at the Wells Fargo Center beginning in 1996. Villanova's first game in the new arena was a December 1996 loss to the Duke Blue Devils. Wells Fargo Center was known as the CoreStates Center, the First Union Center, and the Wachovia Center before it adopted the Wells Fargo Center name.

1994 NIT Champions

On March 30, 1994, Villanova became the 15th school to have won both NCAA and NIT Championships when the Wildcats defeated Vanderbilt 80–73 in NIT Finals. The Wildcats were led by Jonathan Haynes, who scored 19 points, and Kerry Kittles, who posted 18. Eric Eberz added 16 points and seven rebounds. Haynes and Kittles earned spots on the All-Tournament team for their efforts.

Jay Wright era (2001–present)

Jay Wright was named Villanova's head coach in 2001. As Rollie Massimino assistant from 1987 through 1992, he was well-acquainted with Villanova. Prior to his hiring by Villanova, Wright was head coach at Hofstra.

Villanova earned a post-season tournament berth in each of Wright's initial ten seasons as Villanova head coach before missing in 2011–12. The Wildcats played in the NIT in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and in 11 NCAA Tournaments in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. During Wright's tenure, Villanova has compiled a 20–10 record in the NCAA Tournament crowned with the amazing 2016 National Championship. Six of Wright's ten NCAA Tournament losses at Villanova were to the eventual National Champion. One of the highlights of his tenure was an amazing run to the 2009 Final Four when Villanova beat #1 seeded Pittsburgh in the Elite 8 on a coast to coast buzzer beater shot by team captain Scottie Reynolds. Villanova subsequently lost the national semifinals to eventual NCAA Champion North Carolina.

The struggling finishes to both the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons were highlighted by losing streaks down the stretch followed by some poorly played NCAA games where Villanova barely beat Robert Morris in overtime and took losses at the hands of St Mary's (2010) and George Mason (2011) in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova had a rebuilding season with a disappointing 13–19 record in 2011–12 season and they missed an NCAA bid after 7 consecutive appearances in the Tournament. It was the first season that Jay Wright did not lead the program into any postseason tournament. The 2012–13 season saw a return trip to NCAA tournament but a #2 seed in 2013–14 and a #1 seed in 2014–15 both ended quickly in the Round of 32 showing a negative 6 year trend where Jay Wright went 3–5 in NCAA Tournament games despite favorable seeds. This drew comparisons to Steve Lappas tournament futility in the prior regime. The 2016 Championship ended that long drought.

Notable players during the Jay Wright era include Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Dante Cunningham, Allan Ray, Will Sheridan, Curtis Sumpter, Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou, JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard, Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart.

2004–05 season

Under coach Jay Wright, Villanova's men's basketball team reached the 2005 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, defeating New Mexico and Florida before losing to #1 seed and eventual champion North Carolina by one point. Junior Forward Curtis Sumpter was injured in the Florida game and did not return to the court until the 2006–07 season. There is controversy surrounding a disputed traveling call against Allan Ray made in the closing seconds of the UNC game. With under a minute left and Villanova down by three, Ray drove and made a shot. There was contact with a UNC defender and a whistle. Most assumed the whistle signified a foul on Carolina, giving Ray a chance to tie the game with the resultant free-throw. Incredibly, the officials ruled that Ray committed a traveling violation prior to taking the shot, negating the basket, and rendering Kyle Lowry's buzzer beating 3 pointer a mere footnote to a painful loss.

2005–06 season

Led by senior guards Randy Foye and Allan Ray as well as sophomore guard Kyle Lowry, the Villanova men's basketball team began the 2005–2006 year ranked #4 in the major polls from USA Today and the Associated Press. Having lost only three regular season games, the Wildcats enjoyed a #1 seed in the 2006 tournament—their first. The Wildcats' wins over Monmouth, Arizona, and Boston College brought them back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1988. Villanova's 75–62 upset loss in Minneapolis to eventual champion Florida ended the team's run toward a Regional Final. The loss to Florida was the second consecutive year that Villanova was eliminated in the NCAA Tournament by the eventual national champion. The Wildcats' 28 wins during the 2006 campaign was the second most victories for any Villanova Men's Basketball team at that time. Foye, Ray and Lowry all entered the NBA following the season.

2006–07 season

Wright's 2006–2007 team was composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores who, at times, struggled to mesh. The Wildcats improved throughout the season, due in large part to the emergence of freshman Scottie Reynolds. Villanova finished the 2006–07 season with a record of 22–11. The Wildcats earned an at-large bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the second round to the Kentucky Wildcats. Villanova's 2006–07 free throw percentage of .781 led the NCAA, and set a Villanova season record.[4]

2007–08 season

The 2007–08 campaign was an erratic one for the young Wildcats, a team with no seniors. After a promising 9–1 start, Villanova had a rough start to its Big East season. In mid-season, the Wildcats lost five consecutive games by double digits and lost 6 of 7 games during a 3-week span in the middle of the season, as the freshmen struggled to adjust to the college game, and the experienced players encountered difficulties in adjusting to leadership positions. In February and March, as the players became more comfortable within Coach Wright's system, and with improved defense, the team began to win.

A win against Syracuse in the Big East Tournament was good enough for the Wildcats to secure one of the final at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. Villanova proved it was worthy of the bid when an upset over Clemson and a victory over Siena put them in the final 16 teams in the tournament, where they lost to eventual National Champion Kansas.

2008–09 season

Most notable in the 2008–09 season was the rise to prominence of senior forward Dante Cunningham. Cunningham averaged 16.1 points per game, an increase of nearly 6 points over the previous season. He also managed to average 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.[5] Cunningham was honored as the Big East Most Improved Player.[6] His teammate, tenacious sophomore guard Corey Fisher, was also honored as the Big East Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions off the bench.[6]

The Wildcats finished the regular season with a mark of 26–7, earning a school record for most regular season victories. They lost their final regular season game to the Louisville Cardinals, 69–55, in the fourth round, or semi-finals of the Big East Tournament.[7] The Wildcats began the NCAA Tournament at the Wachovia Center, a secondary venue for home games. They survived an early scare by American[7] to handily beat two of college basketball's most prestigious programs, UCLA and Duke, in the rounds of 32 and 16 by a combined margin of 43 points.

Villanova won a very close match up against number 1 seed Pittsburgh in the Elite 8 round of the tournament, with guard Scottie Reynolds racing down the court to make a layup with only 0.5 seconds left. Pitt took the final shot, which bounced off the backboard to end the game. The last-second basket by Reynolds was widely hailed as one of the most exciting plays of that year's tournament, with Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis calling the victory "one of the great games in NCAA tournament history".[7] Villanova advanced to the Final Four where they faced the North Carolina Tar Heels. Villanova fell to the Tar Heels in the National Semifinals at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, by a final score of 83–69. This was the fourth time in five years that Villanova's tournament ouster was by the eventual national champion.

The Wildcats' record of 30–8 broke a previous high for most victories in a season, a distinction previously held by the 2005–06 Wildcats squad. The senior class of 2009, composed of forwards Dante Cunningham, Shane Clark, Dwayne Anderson and Frank Tchuisi, earned the distinction of being the winningest senior class in school history.

2009–10 season

The Wildcats enjoyed another highly successful regular season, finishing with a record of 24–7 and earning a #2 Seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in the first round of the Big East Tournament to Marquette and required overtime to defeat 15th seeded Robert Morris University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were defeated in the 2nd round by the 10th seeded St. Mary's Gaels.

Scottie Reynolds ended his career as the second-leading scorer in Villanova history with 2,222 points, 21 points short of breaking Kerry Kittles's all-time record. He finished his College career with 472 assists and 203 steals. Reynolds was named to the 2010 AP All-American 1st team, but was not selected in the NBA draft.

2016 National Champions

The Wildcats enjoyed another highly successful regular season and held the AP #1 ranking in the nation for the first time in school history over a 3-week period. They finished the regular season with a 27–4 record losing only to teams (Oklahoma, Virginia, Providence, Xavier) that were ranked at the time of the match-up. Villanova finished Big East Conference play 16–2 for the third year in a row also garnering their 3rd straight outright Regular Season Conference Title. After losing in the Big East Tournament Championship Game to Seton Hall, 69–67, the Wildcats earned a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament South Region where they dispatched the #15 seeded UNC Asheville by 30 points, followed by a 19-point win over #7 seed Iowa. After defeating #3 seed Miami by 23, they moved on to the Elite Eight to face the overall #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks. The Wildcats defense shined as they won by 5 points to advance to their 5th Final Four and the first since 2009. They faced #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners, who had beaten Villanova by 23 on December 7, 2015 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii early in the season. In the National Semi-Finals, Villanova beat the Sooners by 44 points (a NCAA Final Four record) to advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time in 31 years. They faced the second-overall #1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels for the championship. On April 4, Villanova defeated UNC on a game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer by Kris Jenkins to win the NCAA Championship by a final score of 77–74, winning their second NCAA championship. UNC had recovered from a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to tie the game on an off-balance, double-clutch three-point shot that passed through the net with 4.7 seconds left, leaving the Wildcats one last chance to clinch a victory before overtime. Kris Jenkins inbounded the ball to four-year team captain Ryan Arcidiacono, who dribbled down court, passed the ball and set a bubble screen to assist Jenkins' game-winning shot. Coach Jay Wright credits the play to the "Wildcat minute", where the team practices late-game scenarios at every practice. The game has been called one of the greatest in the history of NCAA Tournament Championships.[3]

Villanova ended the 2016 season at 35–5 including the unanimous #1 ranking in the final Coaches' Poll (USA Today) while capturing their 2nd NCAA basketball championship trophy in the history of the program. In beating #3 seed Miami (AP #10), #1 seed Kansas (AP #1), #2 seed Oklahoma (AP #7) and #1 seed UNC (AP #3), Villanova became the first school in 31 years — since the 1985 Villanova Wildcats — to not only beat four top-three seeds on the way to a national title but to also beat four straight opponents ranked in the AP top 10, in addition to beating AP ranked Iowa in the Round of 32. Villanova's run included two of the ten most offensively efficient games in the analytics era (2002–present), beating Miami and Oklahoma by scoring 1.56 and 1.51 points per possession in the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four, respectively. It has been called perhaps the most dominant tournament championship run of all time, and the most dominant of the analytics era by a wide margin, with Villanova posting an average margin of victory equal to 20.7 points per game (+124 total point margin).[3]

Player honors

Postseason

NCAA Tournament history

Villanova has appeared in 38 NCAA Tournaments, beginning with the first in 1939. The Wildcats have amassed a tournament record of 58–36 (.617), and were the national champions in 1985 and 2016. Villanova has won as the underdog (based on Tournament seeding) 16 times, more than any other program. Villanova is one of only two programs (the other being Ohio State) that has played in the NCAA Tournament in every decade since the 1930s.

OpponentResultScoreSiteCityRound
2017 −1 Seed
Mount St. Mary'sW76–56KeyBank CenterBuffalo, New YorkFirst Round
WisconsinL62–65KeyBank CenterBuffalo, New YorkSecond Round
2016 – 2 Seed – NCAA CHAMPIONS
UNC AshevilleW86–56Barclays CenterBrooklyn, New YorkFirst Round
IowaW87–68Barclays CenterBrooklyn, New YorkSecond Round
MiamiW92–69KFC Yum! CenterLouisville, KentuckyRegional Semifinals
KansasW64–59KFC Yum! CenterLouisville, KentuckyRegional Finals
OklahomaW95–51NRG StadiumHoustonNational Semifinals
North CarolinaW77–74NRG StadiumHoustonNational Championship
2015 – 1 Seed
LafayetteW93–52Consol Energy CenterPittsburghSecond Round
North Carolina StateL68–71Consol Energy CenterPittsburghThird Round
2014 – 2 Seed
MilwaukeeW73–53First Niagara CenterBuffalo, New YorkSecond Round
ConnecticutL65–77First Niagara CenterBuffalo, New YorkThird Round
2013 – 9 Seed
North CarolinaL71–78Sprint CenterKansas City, MissouriSecond Round
2011 – 9 Seed
George MasonL57–61Quicken Loans ArenaCleveland, OhioSecond Round
2010 – 2 Seed
Robert MorrisW73–70 OTDunkin' Donuts CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandFirst Round
St. Mary'sL68–75Dunkin' Donuts CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandSecond Round
2009 – 3 Seed – FINAL FOUR
AmericanW80–67Wachovia CenterPhiladelphiaFirst Round
UCLAW89–69Wachovia CenterPhiladelphiaSecond Round
DukeW77–54TD Banknorth GardenBostonRegional Semifinals
PittsburghW78–76TD Banknorth GardenBostonRegional Finals
North CarolinaL69–83Ford FieldDetroitNational Semifinals
2008 – 12 Seed – Sweet 16
ClemsonW75–69St. Pete Times ForumTampa, FloridaFirst Round
SienaW84–72St. Pete Times ForumTampa, FloridaSecond Round
KansasL57–72Ford FieldDetroitRegional Semifinals
2007 – 9 Seed
KentuckyL58–67United CenterChicagoFirst Round
2006 – 1 Seed – Elite 8
MonmouthW58–45Wachovia CenterPhiladelphiaFirst Round
ArizonaW82–78Wachovia CenterPhiladelphiaSecond Round
Boston CollegeW60–59 OTHubert H. Humphrey MetrodomeMinneapolisRegional Semifinals
FloridaL62–75Hubert H. Humphrey MetrodomeMinneapolisRegional Finals
2005 – 5 Seed – Sweet 16
New MexicoW55–47Gaylord Entertainment CenterNashville, TennesseeFirst Round
FloridaW76–65Gaylord Entertainment CenterNashville, TennesseeSecond Round
North CarolinaL67–66Carrier DomeSyracuse, New YorkRegional Semifinals
1999 – 8 Seed
MississippiL70–72Bradley CenterMilwaukeeFirst Round
1997 – 4 Seed
Long IslandW101–91Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial ColiseumWinston-Salem, North CarolinaFirst Round
CaliforniaL68–75Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial ColiseumWinston-Salem, North CarolinaSecond Round
1996 – 3 Seed
PortlandW92–56Bradley CenterMilwaukeeFirst Round
LouisvilleL64–68Bradley CenterMilwaukeeSecond Round
1995 – 3 Seed
Old DominionL81–89 3OTPepsi ArenaAlbany, New YorkFirst Round
1991 – 9 Seed
PrincetonW50–48Carrier DomeSyracuse, New YorkFirst Round
North CarolinaL69–84Carrier DomeSyracuse, New YorkSecond Round
1990 – 12 Seed
LSUL63–70Thompson–Boling ArenaKnoxville, TennesseeFirst Round
1988 – 6 Seed – Elite 8
ArkansasW82–74Riverfront ColiseumCincinnatiFirst Round
IllinoisW66–63Riverfront ColiseumCincinnatiSecond Round
KentuckyW80–74BJCCBirmingham, AlabamaRegional Semifinals
OklahomaL59–78BJCCBirmingham, AlabamaRegional Finals
1986 – 10 Seed
Virginia TechW71–62LSU Assembly CenterBaton Rouge, LouisianaFirst Round
Georgia TechL61–66LSU Assembly CenterBaton Rouge, LouisianaSecond Round
1985 – 8 Seed – NCAA CHAMPIONS
DaytonW51–49University of Dayton ArenaDayton, OhioFirst Round
MichiganW59–55University of Dayton ArenaDayton, OhioSecond Round
MarylandW46–43BJCCBirmingham, AlabamaRegional Semifinals
North CarolinaW56–44BJCCBirmingham, AlabamaRegional Finals
Memphis StateW52–45Rupp ArenaLexington, KentuckyNational Semifinals
GeorgetownW66–64Rupp ArenaLexington, KentuckyNational Championship
1984 – 7 Seed
MarshallW84–72The MECCAMilwaukeeFirst Round
IllinoisL56–64The MECCAMilwaukeeSecond Round
1983 – 3 Seed – Elite 8
Bye    First Round
LamarW60–56The SummitHoustonSecond Round
IowaW55–54Kemper ArenaKansas City, MissouriRegional Semifinals
HoustonL71–89Kemper ArenaKansas City, MissouriRegional Finals
1982 – 3 Seed – Elite 8
Bye    First Round
NortheasternW76–72 3OTNassau ColiseumUniondale, New YorkSecond Round
Memphis StateW70–66 OTReynolds ColiseumRaleigh, North CarolinaRegional Semifinals
North CarolinaL60–70Reynolds ColiseumRaleigh, North CarolinaRegional Finals
1981 – 9 Seed
HoustonW90–72Charlotte ColiseumCharlotte, North CarolinaFirst Round
VirginiaL50–54Charlotte ColiseumCharlotte, North CarolinaSecond Round
1980 – 8 Seed
MarquetteW77–59Providence Civic CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandFirst Round
SyracuseL83–97Providence Civic CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandSecond Round
1978 – Elite 8
La SalleW103–97PalestraPhiladelphiaFirst Round
IndianaW61–60Providence Civic CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandRegional Semifinals
DukeL72–90Providence Civic CenterProvidence, Rhode IslandRegional Finals
1972 – Sweet 16
East CarolinaW85–70Jadwin GymnasiumPrinceton, New JerseyFirst Round
PennsylvaniaL67–78WVU ColiseumMorgantown, West VirginiaRegional Semifinals
South CarolinaL78–90WVU ColiseumMorgantown, West VirginiaConsolation
1971 – NCAA RUNNER-UP
Saint Joseph'sW93–75PalestraPhiladelphiaFirst Round
FordhamW85–75Reynolds ColiseumRaleigh, North CarolinaRegional Semifinals
PennsylvaniaW90–47Reynolds ColiseumRaleigh, North CarolinaRegional Finals
Western KentuckyW92–89AstrodomeHoustonNational Semifinals
UCLAL62–68AstrodomeHoustonNational Championship
1970 – Elite 8
TempleW77–69PalestraPhiladelphiaFirst Round
NiagaraW98–73Carolina ColiseumColumbia, South CarolinaRegional Semifinals
St. BonaventureL74–94Carolina ColiseumColumbia, South CarolinaRegional Finals
1969
DavidsonL61–75Reynolds ColiseumRaleigh, North CarolinaFirst Round
1964 – Final 16
ProvidenceW77–66  First Round
DukeL73–87  Regional Semifinals
PrincetonW74–62  Consolation
1962 – Final 8
West VirginiaW90–75PalestraPhiladelphiaFirst Round
NYUW79–70Cole Field HouseCollege Park, MarylandRegional Semifinals
Wake ForestL69–79Cole Field HouseCollege Park, MarylandRegional Finals
1955 – Final 16
DukeW74–73Madison Square GardenNew York CityFirst Round
CanisiusL71–73PalestraPhiladelphiaRegional Semifinals
PrincetonW64–57PalestraPhiladelphiaConsolation
1951 – Final 16
North Carolina StateL62–67  Regional Semifinals
1949 – Final 8
KentuckyL72–85Madison Square GardenNew York CityRegional Finals
YaleW78–67Madison Square GardenNew York CityConsolation
1939 – NCAA FINAL FOUR
BrownW42–30PalestraPhiladelphiaRegional Finals
Ohio StateL36–53PalestraPhiladelphiaNational Semifinals

NCAA Tournament Seeding History

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

Years →'80'81'82'83'84'85'86'88'90'91'95'96'97'99'05'06'07'08'09'10'11'13'14'15'16'17
Seeds →89337810612933485191232992121

NIT history

The Wildcats have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 17 times. Their combined record is 24–17. They were NIT Champions in 1994.

YearRoundOpponentResult
1959First RoundSt. John'sL 67–75
1960First Round
Quarterfinals
Detroit
Utah State
W 88–86
L 72–73
1963First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3rd Place Game
DePaul
Wichita State
Canisius
Marquette
W 63–51
W 54–53
L 46–61
L 58–66
1965Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
Manhattan
NYU
St. John's
W 73–71
W 91–69
L 51–55
1966First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3rd Place Game
St. John's
Boston College
NYU
Army
W 63–61
W 86–85
L 63–78
W 76–65
1967First RoundMarshallL 68–70
1968First Round
Quarterfinals
Wyoming
Kansas
W 77–66
L 49–55
1977First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3rd Place Game
Old Dominion
Massachusetts
St. Bonaventure
Alabama
W 71–68
W 81–71
L 82–86
W 102–89
1987First RoundLa SalleL 84–86
1989First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Saint Peter's
Penn State
Michigan State
W 76–56
W 76–67
L 63–70
1992First RoundVirginiaL 80–83
1994First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
Canisius
Duquesne
Xavier
Siena
Vanderbilt
W 103–79
W 82–66
W 76–74
W 66–58
W 80–73
2000First Round
Second Round
Delaware
Kent State
W 72–63
L 67–81
2001First RoundMinnesotaL 78–87
2002First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Manhattan
Louisiana Tech
Temple
W 84–69
W 67–64
L 57–63
2003Opening RoundSienaL 59–74
2004First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Drexel
Virginia
Rutgers
W 85–70
W 73–63
L 60–72

National Campus Basketball Tournament results

The Wildcats appeared in the only National Campus Basketball Tournament. Their record is 0–1.

YearRoundOpponentResult
1951QuarterfinalsUtahL 65–67

Year-to-year history

SeasonCoachOverallConferenceStandingPostseason
Independent (1920–1976)
1920–21Michael Saxe8–7   
1921–22Michael Saxe11–4   
1922–23Michael Saxe10–6   
1923–24Michael Saxe14–7   
1924–25Michael Saxe10–1   
1925–26Michael Saxe10–6   
Michael Saxe:64–30(.681)  
1926–27John Cashman11–7   
1927–28John Cashman4–11   
1928–29John Cashman6–8   
John Cashman:21–26(.447)  
1929–30George Jacobs11–6   
1930–31George Jacobs7–13   
1931–32George Jacobs7–11   
1932–33George Jacobs9–4   
1933–34George Jacobs9–3   
1934–35George Jacobs13–7   
1935–36George Jacobs6–12   
George Jacobs:62–56(.525)  
1936–37Alexander Severance15–8   
1937–38Alexander Severance25–5   
1938–39Alexander Severance20–5  NCAA Final Four
1939–40Alexander Severance17–2   
1940–41Alexander Severance13–3   
1941–42Alexander Severance13–9   
1942–43Alexander Severance19–2   
1943–44Alexander Severance9–11   
1944–45Alexander Severance6–11   
1945–46Alexander Severance10–13   
1946–47Alexander Severance17–7   
1947–48Alexander Severance15–9   
1948–49Alexander Severance23–4  NCAA Elite Eight
1949–50Alexander Severance25–4   
1950–51Alexander Severance25–7  NCAA First Round
1951–52Alexander Severance19–8   
1952–53Alexander Severance19–8   
1953–54Alexander Severance20–11   
1954–55Alexander Severance18–10  NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1955–56Alexander Severance14–12   
1956–57Alexander Severance10–15   
1957–58Alexander Severance12–11   
1958–59Alexander Severance18–7  NIT First Round
1959–60Alexander Severance20–6  NIT Quarterfinals
1960–61Alexander Severance11–13   
Alexander Severance:413–201 (.673)  
1961–62Jack Kraft21–7  NCAA Elite 8
1962–63Jack Kraft19–10  NIT 4th Place
1963–64Jack Kraft24–4  NCAA Sweet 16
1964–65Jack Kraft23–5  NIT Runner Up
1965–66Jack Kraft18–11  NIT 3rd Place
1966–67Jack Kraft17–9  NIT 1st Round
1967–68Jack Kraft19–9  NIT Quarterfinals
1968–69Jack Kraft21–5   
1969–70Jack Kraft22–7  NCAA Elite 8
1970–71Jack Kraft27–7  NCAA Runner Up
1971–72Jack Kraft20–8  NCAA 2nd Round
1972–73Jack Kraft11–14   
Jack Kraft:242–96  
1973–74Rollie Massimino7–19   
1974–75Rollie Massimino9–18   
1975–76Rollie Massimino16–11  ECAC South Semifinals
Eastern Collegiate Basketball League/Eastern 8 (1976–1980)
1976–77Rollie Massimino23–106–12nd (East)NIT Third Place
1977–78Rollie Massimino23–97–3T–1stNCAA Elite Eight
1978–79Rollie Massimino15–139–11st 
1979–80Rollie Massimino23–87–3T–1stNCAA Second Round
Big East Conference (1980–2013)
1980–81Rollie Massimino20–118–6T–3rdNCAA Second Round
1981–82Rollie Massimino24–811–31stNCAA Elite Eight
1982–83Rollie Massimino24–812–4T–1stNCAA Elite Eight
1983–84Rollie Massimino19–1212–4T–2ndNCAA Second Round
1984–85Rollie Massimino25–109–7T–3rdNCAA Champion
1985–86Rollie Massimino23–1410–64thNCAA Second Round
1986–87Rollie Massimino15–166–106thNIT First Round
1987–88Rollie Massimino24–139–7T–3rdNCAA Eilte Eight
1988–89Rollie Massimino18–167–9T–5thNIT Third Round
1989–90Rollie Massimino18–158–8T–5thNCAA First Round
1990–91Rollie Massimino17–157–9T–7thNCAA Second Round
1991–92Rollie Massimino14–1511–74thNIT First Round
Rollie Massimino:357–241139–88 
1992–93Steve Lappas8–193–1510th 
1993–94Steve Lappas20–1210–8T–4thNIT Champions
1994–95Steve Lappas25–814–42ndNCAA First Round
1995–96Steve Lappas26–714–42ndNCAA Second Round
1996–97Steve Lappas24–1012–6T–1stNCAA Second Round
1997–98Steve Lappas12–178–104th 
1998–99Steve Lappas21–1110–8T–4thNCAA First Round
1999–00Steve Lappas20–138–8T–6thNIT Second Round
2000–01Steve Lappas18–138–8T–3rdNIT First Round
Steve Lappas:174–11087–71 
2001–02Jay Wright19–137–95thNIT Quarterfinals
2002–03Jay Wright15–168–8T–3rdNIT First Round
2003–04Jay Wright18–176–1011thNIT Quarterfinals
2004–05Jay Wright24–811–5T–3rdNCAA Sweet Sixteen
2005–06Jay Wright28–514–2T–1stNCAA Elite Eight
2006–07Jay Wright22–119–77thNCAA First Round
2007–08Jay Wright22–139–9T–8thNCAA Sweet Sixteen
2008–09Jay Wright30–813–54thNCAA Final Four
2009–10Jay Wright25–813–5T–2ndNCAA Second Round
2010–11Jay Wright21–129–9T–9thNCAA Second Round
2011–12Jay Wright13–195–13T–13th 
2012–13Jay Wright20–1410–8T–7thNCAA Second Round
Big East Conference (2013–present)
2013–14Jay Wright29–516–21stNCAA Third Round
2014–15Jay Wright33–316–21stNCAA Third Round
2015–16Jay Wright35–516–21stNCAA Champion
2016–17Jay Wright32–415–31stNCAA Second Round
Jay Wright:386–161 (.706)177–99 (.641) 
Total:  

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Basketball Hall of Fame

Retired numbers and jerseys

Villanova honors outstanding former players, coaches, and others by retiring their numbers or jerseys. For those honored, a replica jersey is hung in the rafters of the Pavilion. Uniform numbers of retired jerseys remain in circulation, while retired numbers are no longer used. Paul Arizin's #11 is the only retired number. As of 2011, 19 have been honored with a retired number or jersey, including 14 players, four coaches, and longtime trainer Jake Nevin.

The honorees include:

Villanova career records

Games Played
ReboundsHoward Porter – 1,325 rebounds
AssistsKenny Wilson – 627 assists
StealsKerry Kittles – 277 steals
BlocksJason Lawson – 375 blocks
Points ScoredKerry Kittles – 2,243 points

Wildcats in the NBA/ABA

Villanova's All-Time NBA/ABA roster

Members of professional championship teams

  • 1948 Baltimore Bullets (BBA) – Herman "Red" Klotz
  • 1956 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA) – Paul Arizin, Larry Hennessy
  • 1967 Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) – Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni
  • 1974/1976 New Jersey Nets (ABA) – Bill Melchionni
  • 1981 Boston Celtics (NBA) – Chris Ford
  • 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) – John Celestand

Villanova players currently in the NBA

Villanova records in the NBA

YearPlayerCurrent TeamDraft Pick
2006Randy FoyeBrooklyn Nets1st Round 7th Pick Overall
2006Kyle LowryToronto Raptors1st Round 24th Pick Overall
2009Dante CunninghamNew Orleans Pelicans2nd Round 33rd Pick Overall
2015Darrun HilliardFree Agent2nd Round 38th Pick Overall
2016Daniel OchefuWashington WizardsUndrafted
2017Josh HartLos Angeles Lakers1st Round 30th Pick Overall
2017Kris JenkinsWashington WizardsUndrafted
 
Games PlayedRory Sparrow – 836 games
Minutes PlayedPaul Arizin – 24,897 minutes
ReboundsJim Washington – 6,637 rebounds
AssistsRory Sparrow – 4,192 assists
StealsChris Ford – 1,152 steals
BlocksEd Pinckney – 435 blocks
Points ScoredPaul Arizin – 16,266 points

Villanovans drafted

Rivals

Big East

Some Villanovans count Georgetown as their most intense rivalry, having played a historic NCAA Championship game and many competitive Big East Tournament and regular season games against the Hoyas. Other rivals from the Big East Conference include founding members of the original Big EastProvidence (an eastern rivalry which predates the original Big East) and St. John's, plus Syracuse who left the Big East as part of its 2013 split ACC.

Seton Hall has played Villanova more than any other school;[3] due to the proximity of the schools and a series of memorable games since the formation of the new Big East, this has become one of Villanova's top rivalries each season. Games have included critical Seton Hall upsets in 2013, the 2014 Big East Tournament, Villanova's first loss of 2015, and the 2016 Big East Tournament championship as well as a Villanova blowout in a game that resulted in Seton Hall guard Sterling Gibbs punching Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono in 2015 and a narrow victory in the closing seconds of the 2017 Big East Tournament semifinals.

Big Five

Villanova along with Saint Joseph's University, La Salle University, Temple University, and University of Pennsylvania banded together to create the Philadelphia Big 5 in 1954–55. From that date until the mid-1970s all Big 5 games were contested at the Palestra (cap. 9,208) on Penn's campus. The Five competed in a round-robin City Series. Additionally, all participated in numerous doubleheaders against non-Big 5 opponents. Most games were televised locally on WPHL-TV, broadcast by Harry Kalas.

Since the beginning of the 1996–1997 season, Villanova has won 15 out of 21 Big 5 titles. They currently have 25 total Big 5 titles which is second most among the participating schools.

Villanova's bitterest Big 5 rival is Saint Joseph's University, in what has become known as the Holy War.

Traditions

Villanova basketball athletes traditionally remain enrolled four years, graduate, and go on to enjoy post-college success. Villanova has never had to fire a head basketball coach (men's or women's) for any reason. Villanova has won more NCAA tournament games as a lower seed than any school. Villanova won what has been called the greatest college basketball game ever played, defeating Georgetown 66–64 on April 1, 1985 to win the NCAA National Championship.

Songs

V for Villanova is the Wildcats' fight song. Other Villanova songs include March of the Wildcats.

Streamers

Villanova had a tradition of throwing paper streamers in the school colors of blue and white onto the basketball court at home games, particularly Big Five games, after the first Wildcat basket. This tradition was shared by other Big Five basketball teams, and at Big Five games, streamers were thrown by both teams following their team's first field goal. The tradition was stopped in the late 1980s after the NCAA declared that throwing streamers would result in a technical foul. Since then Villanova has restarted the tradition, throwing the streamers on the first basket of the new season during the blue and white scrimmage game during Hoops Mania.

Hoops Mania

Hoops Mania has been an annual tradition to celebrate the start of basketball season. It was originally held in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse for students and has since grown larger after the success of the 2005–06 season. It is now held in the Pavilion and is open to the public and students. Following an inter-team scrimmage, notable music artists perform.