This month we’re having an NCAA style tournament to determine your favorite Villanova Basketball Class of the last 70 years. Be sure to check back every day to cast your votes and see who advances.
We’re half way through the first round, and the top seeds are looking strong. Despite another two upsets from last week, the #1-6 seeds in the Wright Region all won. As for the full results, the classes of ‘50 (65.6% of the vote), ‘73 (91.6%), ‘89 (87.7%), ‘99 (60.8%), ‘08 (94.1%), ‘10 (91.9%), ‘16 (97.4%), and ‘17 (97.4%) all advanced to Thursday’s second round.
Today, we reveal the Massimino Region and the odd case of its #1 seed. The class of 2018 features the workhorse of the 2016 National Championship game, Phil Booth. But there’s a good chance that by the end of the summer, Booth may be granted a medical red-shirt for the 2017 season, moving him into the class of 2019 with fellow member of his recruiting class Mikal Bridges. But for now, Booth remains the headliner of the class, and he’ll need to be back in his championship form if he’s going to guide them through this region.
#1 Class of ‘18 vs #16 Class of ‘77
1 Seed) Class of 2018: Phil Booth, Matt Kennedy, Tom Leibig
True Seed: 3 | Record: 100-12 | NCAA Wins: 8 | Coach: Wright
In just three seasons of play, the class of 2018 already has the 4th most wins and 6th most NCAA victories in school history. They’re also on pace to break the record for most wins by a class in school history, which would be the third consecutive season the record was broken. They’ve been to three straight NCAA tournaments, including the 2016 National Champions. They’ve won three straight Big East Regular Season Championships and they’ve been to three straight Big East Tournament Championship games, walking away with the title twice.
But the odd thing is, none of these have played more than a single season with each other. Booth sat out all but the first three games of his junior season with an injury, while Kennedy and Leibig were just added as walk-ons last year. As the only scholarship player of the class, Booth is clearly the star. That star shone brightest with his team high 20 points in the 2016 National Championship.
16 Seed) Class of 1977: Chubby Cox, Larry Herron, John Olive, Joe Rogers, Gerard Trapp
True Seed: 67 | Record: 55-58 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Massimino
The class of 1977 reached the ‘77 NIT Final Four in their senior season before falling to St. Bonaventure. While they faced some early struggles under new head coach Rollie Massimino, they would set the table for the new coaches very successful tenure at Nova. The class’s stars, Larry Herron, John Olive, and Joe Rogers, combined to average 30.3 points per game over their careers and started every season for coach Mass. Herron ranks 26th in scoring and 36th in rebounds All-Time for the Cats. Olive comes in at 26th in rebounds and tied for 56th in scoring. Joe Rogers racked up 474 assists, good enough for 9th All-Time at Villanova.
#8 Class of ‘98 vs #9 Class of ‘79
Seed 8) Class of 1998: Joe Jackson, Mark Jackson, Brian Noone, Adam Shafer
True Seed: 30 | Record: 87-42 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Lappas
The class of ‘98 went to three straight NCAA tournaments in their first three seasons. While they never made it out of the first weekend, they spent at least part of each of those seasons ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 10. They made two Big East Tournament Championship games, and won the title their freshman year. However, the class didn’t really have a star, and is made up of role players and walk-ons.
Seed 9) Class of 1979: Ron Cowan, Larry Sock
True Seed: 35 | Record: 75-43 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Massimino
The class of 1979 made the Elite 8 of the ‘78 NCAA Tournament and the Final Four of the ‘77 NIT Tournament. They also won back to back Eastern Athletic Association (now A-10) Regular Season Championships, along with the ‘78 EAA Conference Tournament. Sock and Cowan each played limited roles in the front court, coming off the bench in all four seasons of their career.
#4 Class of ‘83 vs #13 Class of ‘13
Seed 4) Class of 1983: Stewart Granger, Martin Lutschaunig, Kevin McKenna, Mike Mulquin, John Pinone
True Seed: 35 | Record: 75-43 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Massimino
The Class of 1983 was the first in Villanova history to go to four straight NCAA tournaments, including back to back Elite 8s. They also won two regular season championships, including Nova’s first Big East Championship, and one Conference Tournament Championship in the EAA (now A-10). In their senior season, they were ranked as high as 4th in the AP Poll, and were the first Villanova team to ever be ranked in the pre-season Top 5.
The class had two stars in big man John Pinone and assist machine Stewart Granger. Pinone ranks 8th in points, 10th in rebounds, 27th in steals, and 35th in assists All-Time at Villanova. Granger ranks 2nd in assists, 13th in steals, and 40th in points All-Time for the Wildcats.
13 Seed) Class of 2013: Isaiah Armwood, Dominic Cheek, Maurice Sutton, Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou
True Seed: 51 | Record: 79-53 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2013 made three NCAA tournaments, but only managed a single post-season victory. The class started strong, ranking in the Top 10 of the AP Poll for most of their first two seasons. But in their junior year, the 2012 class tied for the most losses in a season in school history. By the end of that season, three of the five members of the class had either transferred or left for the pros. But those who remained helped lead Villanova to a 20 win season and a return to the NCAA tournament.
The star of the class, Maalik Wayns, ranks 19th in assists and 49th in points All-Time at Villanova through just three seasons. Big man Mouphtaou Yarou ranks 11th in rebounds, 11th in blocks, and 59th in scoring All-Time for the Cats. Fellow member of the front court Maurice Sutton is one of only 12 players in Villanova history to record 100+ career blocks.
#5 Class of ‘06 vs #12 Class of ‘69
5 Seed) Class of 2006: Mike Claxton, Baker Dunleavy, Randy Foye, Jason Fraser, Allan Ray, Curtis Sumpter
True Seed: 19 | Record: 85-46 | NCAA Wins: 5 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2006 went to back to back NCAA tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. They also went to the NIT tournament the two previous seasons. In their senior season, they spent almost the entire season in the AP Top 5 and were Co-Big East Regular Season Champions.
This class was so talented, that every single member has gone on to either coach in the NCAA, coach in the NBA, or play in the NBA. Randy Foye was the 2006 Big East Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American. He ranks 6th in steals, 9th in points, 14th in assists, and 33rd in rebounds All-Time for Villanova. Allan Ray, who ranks 7th in points and 21st in steals All-Time, is one of only eight Wildcats to score 2,000+ career points. Jason Fraser ranks 6th in blocks and 30th in rebounds All-Time despite battling injuries for most of his career. And Curtis Sumpter, whose career was delayed a season with a medical redshirt, ranks 13th in blocks, 15th in points, 16th in rebounds, and 32nd in steals All-Time.
12 Seed) Class of 1969: Paul Espel, Frank Gillen, William Horlacher, Johnny Jones, Frank McCall, Jim McIntosh, Bob Melchionni, John Schroeder
True Seed: 46 | Record: 57-23 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Kraft
The class of 1969 made the NCAA tournament in their senior season, but lost in the first round. That season, the team cracked the Top 5 of the AP Poll, and spent most of the season in the Top 10. They also made the NIT tournament both of the previous seasons, but only came away with one post-season victory. The star of the class, Johnny Jones, ranks 24th in points and 27th in rebounds All-Time for Villanova.
#6 Class of ‘64 vs #11 Class of ‘53
6 Seed) Class of 1964: Tom Hoover, Wally Jones, Joe McGill, Alan Sallee, Gerald Stefanick, Mike Tralies, Warren Winterbottom
True Seed: 22 | Record: 64-21 | NCAA Wins: 3 | Coach: Kraft
The class of ‘64 made two trips to the NCAA tournament, reaching the Elite 8 in their first attempt and the Sweet 16 their senior season. In both of those seasons, the team was cracked the AP Poll Top 5 during the year. The one year they didn’t reach the NCAA, they went to the Final Four of the NIT tournament. The star of the class, Wally Jones, averaged over 16 points per game in each of his three seasons. Jones ranks 32nd in points and 35th in assists All-Time for the Wildcats.
11 Seed) Class of 1953: Anthony Cassinelli, Steve Gepp, Sam Glassmire, Larry Hennessy, Joe Maguire, Nicholas Maguire, Jim Mooney, Thomas Redmond, Alan Rowe, George Stanko
True Seed: 43 | Record: 63-23 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance
The class of ‘53 made the NCAA tournament during their first varsity season, but were eliminated in the first round. The class did achieve three winning seasons, in all of which they were ranked in the AP Poll. The star of the class, Larry Hennessy still has the highest career average points per game (23.2) in school history. He ranks 13th in scoring All-Time for Villanova. His teammate, Jim Mooney, ranks 6th in rebounds All-Time and is one of only seven Wildcats to record 1,000 career boards.
#3 Class of ‘87 vs #14 Class of ‘61
3 Seed) Class of 1987: Connally Brown, Harold Jensen, Wyatt Maker, Steve Pinone
True Seed: 11 | Record: 82-52 | NCAA Wins: 8 | Coach: Massimino
The class of ‘87 was a part of the 1985 National Championship team and went to three straight NCAA tournaments in their first three seasons. In their senior season, they made the NIT tournament, but lost in the opening round to cross-town rival La Salle. The star of the class, Harold Jensen, came off the bench to score 14 points and shoot 80% from the field in the National Championship game. He ranks 37th in assists and 52nd in points All-Time for Villanova.
14 Seed) Class of 1961: John Driscoll, Jim Huggard, Dick Kaminski, Bob Liberatore, Don McGinley, Tom Samulewicz, Dave Severance
True Seed: 54 | Record: 49-26 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance
The class of ‘61 made the Elite 8 of the 1960 NIT Tournament, but were never invited to the NCAAs. The class was ranked during two of their seasons, including making the AP Poll Top 10 in their second season. The star of the class, Jim Huggard, averaged over 15 points per game for his career and ranks 50th in points All-Time for Villanova. John Driscoll ranks 43rd in rebounds All-Time for Nova after playing just two seasons, both as a starter.
#7 Class of ‘97 vs #10 Class of ‘78
7 Seed) Class of 1997: Chuck Kornegay, Jason Lawson, Zeffy Penn, Arthur Quarterman, Alvin Williams
True Seed: 27 | Record: 95-37 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Lappas
The class of ‘97 went to three straight NCAA tournaments, but never made it out of the first weekend. Their freshman season they were a part of the 1994 NIT Championship team, Villanova’s first ever NIT Championship. The class ranked in the AP Poll Top 10 in each of their three final seasons, ascending as far as #2 in the country their junior year. The stars of the class were guard Alvin Williams and big man Jason Lawson. Williams ranks 3rd in assists, 5th in steals, and 33rd in points All-Time for Villanova. Lawson is the school’s career leader in blocks with 375, also ranking 8th in rebounds and 25th in points All-Time for the Wildcats.
10 Seed) Class of 1978: Bruce Anders, Keith Herron, Whitey Rigsby, Reggie Robinson, Jay Underman
True Seed: 38 | Record: 71-48 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Massimino
The class of ‘78 went to the Elite 8 in its lone NCAA appearance their senior year. That season they were also Co-EAA (now A-10) Regular Season Champions and won the EAA Conference Tournament. The year before they made the Final Four of the NIT tournament. The class featured a trio of players, but the best among them was Keith Herron. Herron ranks 3rd in points and 40th in rebounds All-Time for Villanova, and is one of only eight players to score 2,000+ career points. Whitey Rigsby ranks 17th in assists and 40th in steals All-Time for the Wildcats. And finally, Reggie Robinson is currently 39th in both career points and rebounds for Nova.
#2 Class of ‘88 vs #15 Class of ‘94
2 Seed) Class of 1988: Veltra Dawson, Pet Enright, Mark Plansky
True Seed: 6 | Record: 87-53 | NCAA Wins: 10 | Coach: Massimino
The class of ‘88 were freshman on the 1985 National Championship game. Plansky was the only one to see the floor, getting a single minute of playing time in which he missed a free throw and committed a foul. But it wouldn’t be his last NCAA game, as the class went to two more NCAA tournaments, including a run to the Elite 8 their senior season. That season they also advanced to the finals of the Big East Tournament before falling to Syracuse. The one year they failed to make the NCAA, they lost in the first round of the NIT tournament. The star of the class, Mark Plansky, did a little bit of everything for his team. He ranks 24th in assists, 31st in steals, 31st in rebounds, and 48th in points All-Time for Villanova.
15 Seed) Class of 1994: Ray Dietz, Anthony Pelle
True Seed: 59 | Record: 59-61 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Massimino/Lappas
The class of 1994 were senior leaders of the ‘94 NIT Championship team. That is Ray Dietz was after Anthony Pelle transferred following his junior season. They also made the second round of the NCAA tournament their freshman year, and got to the NIT as sophomores. Dietz played a minimal role off the bench, while Pelle still ranks 14th in blocks All-Time at Villanova despite only playing there for three seasons.
Thanks for reading! Voting for each round will close at midnight. Be sure to check back for the final region reveal and vote on the first round for the Kraft Region. We’ll also announce the winners from today’s vote. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.