SUCCESS- It's a moving target. And it's a target that varies from person to person.
In basketball, anything short of a National Championship could be considered "unsuccessful" depending on what a team's initial expectations are. Throw in unexpected variables that arise during the season and that target moves again.
Prior to tipping off the 2013-14 we posed a poll to the VU Hoops Readership- Define a "successful" season for THIS Villanova team?
With over 500 votes, 79% of the respondents noted that a single NCAA Tournament Victory (37%) or a Trip to the Sweet 16 (42%) would be a successful season for the Villanova Wildcats. Although, that is a one-win difference, there is a huge gap between the two. Especially for a fanbase that is watching other schools play on the second weekend.
54% of those who participated in that November Poll would define the 2013-14 season a 'Nova "success".
In that Poll, my personal feelings were that a trip to the Second Weekend was the minimum ante to get the "Successful" tag; even for the team that was selected as the 4th best Big East team in the Pre-season conference poll. The 2014 Wildcats were an overachieving squad. An opportunistic team. I am dismissing neither the 29-5 record nor the Big East Regular Season Championship (or the 2-Seed). There is a ton to be proud of this season. These Wildcats pounced on the opportunity of a weakened conference for a ride to national respect.
This team was fun to watch. Plain and simple. The complete lack of selfishness always had me on the edge of my seat (because I was able to watch every game except the Lafayette game on FS2). Not knowing who the leading scorer would be kept me enthralled for every game. Tenacity on the boards. The uncertainty of the proverbial "living or dying by the three". On and on... and on.
I will support the Blue & the White... the Block V... the Villanova Wildcats, But, for Mike J., College Basketball teams are built for March (& April) results.
Others define SUCCESS in their own terms.
Asking other writers, here is what Jeremy noted...
Villanova basketball had lost its way with the problems caused by a couple bad eggs and bad situations (Cory Fisher & Scottie Reynolds controversy, Dom Cheek, JayVaughn's suspension). Jay Wright rebuilt the program with refocused recruiting and emphases, and Villanova improved as a result. So it's great to see his mission be effective. We flirted with the Top 5 and were ranked nearly all season. That being said, a one-win tournament appearance is not where we want our program to be. Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight should be the standard.
Ultimately this season was successful in the grand scheme of things. Or rather, it will be considered successful depending on how next season goes. If we continue to improve, get the recruits we want, and conduct "Villanova basketball" on and off the court, then yes. This was a successful season. But if we don't maintain and improve that, then it was all for naught.
Success is a measurement. Villanova was measured before the season and most expected much less from this team before things started -- including myself. The Wildcats instead took home the Big East regular season hardware and earned a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Not every team can go to the Final Four, and this was never a team that had to reach that peak to claim a successful season. They won hardware, played hard, and exceeded what most people thought they could do.
From there, Chris noted...
Before the season, I was pretty adamant that I wanted Villanova to either win the Big East regular season title or conference tournament. Outside of Creighton, they were absolutely dominant in the first year of the new league and will enter next year as the premier program in the conference. That's a big boost for a unit that has seen some dark times recently. That in itself is a success.
Because of that regular season though, there's feelings of unfinished business with the early exit in the Tournament. I also said I wanted the team to make the Sweet 16, and later in the year said the Elite 8 was the minimum I expected from the team. They fell short of that - maybe it was just a bad matchup running into Shabazz Napier on a night that he was going to will his team to victory, but Villanova should come into next season ready to go with a chip on their shoulder because they certainly didn't finish this year strongly.
So we turn to you, what are your thoughts on the success of the 2013-14 Villanova Wildcats?