You’re going to read a lot of negatives about the Villanova Wildcats basketball program over the next 24-48 hours. This post won’t be one of them.
People like to frame things in different ways. Most often, they like to frame it to fit the narrative du jour. So you’re going to read that Villanova has lost in the second round three of the past four years. That Villanova was “lucky” in 2016. That Jay Wright can’t coach the big game. That Villanova doesn’t have the NBA starpower or athletes to win the big game.
You’re not going to read about how Villanova has won more games than any other program in the last four years. Why? Maybe writers are lazy. Maybe the ‘Villanova stinks’ narrative brings page views and clicks. I really can’t answer that for you.
Maybe, just maybe, Villanova’s timing has just been insanely poor? Maybe some of those thrilling late-game wins they’ve pulled out in the regular season would have been better served being traded with the heart-breaking losses in the NCAA Tournament on the calendar. We’d all trade the Virginia finish for the Wisconsin finish without a second thought.
The kicker? We know too well that March is fickle, and so much depends on matchups. The selection cronies have not been kind to the ‘Cats. How’s this for Villanova’s “luck of the draw” under Jay Wright:
- 2005: Lost in Sweet 16 to North Carolina, eventual National Champion
- 2006: Lost in Elite 8 to Florida, eventual National Champion
- 2007: Lost in first round to Kentucky
- 2008: Lost in Sweet 16 to Kansas, eventual National Champion
- 2009: Lost in Final Four to North Carolina, eventual National Champion
- 2010: Lost in second round to St. Mary’s, a game we do not speak of
- 2011: Lost in first round to George Mason, why God why?
- 2013: Lost in first round to North Carolina
- 2014: Lost in second round to UConn, eventual National Champion
- 2015: Lost in second round to N.C. State
- 2016: Won National Championship
- 2017: Lost in second round to Wisconsin, grossly underseeded by consensus
Jay Wright has gone out to the National Champion in 5 of his 11 years in the dance (not including this one, his 12th) as the head coach at Villanova. That’s f*cking stupid, but most will call it a coincidence. He won’t make the excuses, but I’ll make them for him, because he’s a damn good coach. That’s just bad luck.
Moreover, define “success” in March for me. Xavier’s made seven Sweet 16s in twelve years. That’s consistent, for sure. But would you rather have that or would you rather have the National Championship, 2 Final Fours, 3 Elite Eights, 5 Sweet Sixteens and 5 Big East Championships that ‘Nova has accumulated in the same time frame?
Villanova has still won more games than any other program during the last 4 years. They’ve tyrannized the Big East over the same window. And yes, their season has ended earlier than expected in three of those four seasons.
The main point I’m trying to make is that Villanova is headed to the elite of college basketball, if they aren’t already there. Where we’re going
we don’t need roads it’s about winning Big East Championships and National Championships.
The blue-bloods don’t care about anything other than titles. In 4 years, this team has won 7 titles. That’s damn good. Be proud. More banners are on the way.
You cheer for the Villanova Wildcats, who have been among the absolute best in college basketball for the past four seasons. Count yourself among the blessed that you have it in your lives. This isn’t Kings College or some no-name institution that doesn’t win anything of relevance. This is big-time sport.
Enjoy what we have, for as long as it lasts.