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Who’s Your Favorite Villanova Basketball Class: Kraft Region (Round 1)

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Between ‘71, ‘85, and ‘09, there’s plenty of Final Four experience in this region.

Pittsburgh Panthers v Villanova Wildcats Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

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.

After a quick break (sometimes work gets in the way of basketball), we’re back with the VUHoops Summer Tournament to determine your favorite Villanova Class. It’s the final day of the first round, and we almost lost one of the top seeds this week. Phil Booth and the class of ‘18 barely got by with less than a 2% victory, and they’ll need to perform much better if they hope to reach the Sweet 16. The full list of classes to advance in the Massimino Region include ‘64 (73.8%), ‘83 (72.3%), ‘87 (84.3%), ‘88 (95.5%), ‘97 (67.9%), ‘98 (61.7%), ‘06 (96.5%), and ‘18 (51.8%).

And that brings us to the final and probably toughest region, the Kraft Region. This is the only region in which all top four seeds have NCAA Final Four experience. And that doesn’t even bring up the seeding issue. As we said on day one, the seeding might be a little off because it’s based on a calculation of Win% and NCAA victories. But Kerry Kittles and the Class of ‘96 an 11 Seed!?!? Well, it wouldn’t be an NCAA tournament without a gross under-seed. Whoever comes out of this one will surely be battle tested.

#1 Class of ‘86 vs #16 Class of ‘93

1 Seed) Class of 1986: Chuck Everson, R.C. Massimino, Harold Pressley, Dwight Wilbur

True Seed: 4 | Record: 91-44 | NCAA Wins: 10 | Coach: Massimino

The class of 1986 went to four straight NCAA tournaments, including an Elite 8 run their freshman year and a National Championship their junior season. In those two seasons, the team cracked the Top 15 of the AP Poll and ranked as high as 4th nationally. The star of the class, Harold Pressley, ranks 2nd in steals, 5th in rebounds, 7th in blocks, and 23rd in both points and assists All-Time for Villanova. That makes him one of only three Wildcats to rank in the Career Top 10 in three of those five statistics.

16 Seed) Class of 1993: Arron Bain, James Bryson, Calvin Byrd, Marty McCarthy, Lance Miller, Lloyd Mumford

True Seed: 61 | Record: 57-64 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Massimino/Lappas

The class of 1993 went to the NCAA tournament their first two seasons including being ranked 22nd in the AP Poll during their sophomore season, but never made it out of the first weekend. The next year, despite having a losing record, they made the NIT tournament only to lose in the first round. The class’s star, Lance Miller, led the team in scoring his final three seasons. He’s currently ranked 8th in steals, 18th in assists, 28th in rebounds, and 30th in scoring All-Time at Villanova. Fellow classmate James Bryson also ranks 21st All-Time in blocks.

#8 Class of ‘65 vs #9 Class of ‘63

8 Seed) Class of 1965: Eric Erickson, Don Ficca, Samuel Iorio, Ben Kenny, George Leftwich, Jim Washington

True Seed: 29 | Record: 66-19 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Kraft

The class of 1965 went to just one NCAA Tournament, despite finishing two seasons in the AP Poll’s Top 10. Their senior season, they lost in the championship of the NIT tournament to future Big East rival St. John’s. The star of the class, Jim Washington, ranks 2nd in rebounds and 53rd in points All-Time for Villanova, averaging 13.5 points per game for his career. His classmates, Eric Erickson and George Leftwich, both averaged double digit scoring in their senior year as well.

9 Seed) Class of 1963: Bernie Chavis, Jim McMonagle, Jim O’Brien, Richard Richman, Gerry Stefanic

True Seed: 36 | Record: 51-30 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Severance/Kraft

The class of ‘63 went to the 1962 NCAA Tournament, making a run to the Elite 8. That season, the Wildcats were ranked as high as 5th in the AP Poll. In their senior season, the class went to the NIT tournaments Final Four. That year the star of the class, Jim O’Brien, averaged over 10 points per game. O’Brien ranks 44th in rebounds All-Time for Villanova.

#4 Class of ‘71 vs #13 Class of ‘54

4 Seed) Class of 1971: John Fox, Howard Porter, Clarence Smith

True Seed: 13 | Record: 70-19 | NCAA Wins: 6 | Coach: Kraft

The class of 1971 was the first group in Villanova history to make the NCAA tournament in three consecutive seasons. In each of those seasons, Villanova was ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Poll. In their final season the Wildcats reached the finals of the ‘71 NCAA tournament, but fell to UCLA in the midst of their run of national championships. The star of the class, Howard Porter, is the only player in Villanova history to score 2,000+ points in just three seasons, averaging 22.8 points per game for his career. He currently ranks 6th in scoring All-Time for Nova. Porter also has the most career rebounds for Villanova with 1,317, averaging 439 boards per season. That includes the only 500+ rebound season in Wildcat history.

13 Seed) Class of 1954: James Brady, Richard Burke, John Meade

True Seed: 52 | Record: 58-27 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance

The class of 1954 were ranked in the AP Top 20 twice during their careers, but never made any of the post-season tournaments. The class was comprised of walk-ons and role players, none of which made much of an impact on the stat sheet.

#5 Class of ‘82 vs #12 Class of ‘14

5 Seed) Class of 1982: Tom Bethea, Aaron Howard, Bruce Johnson, Jeff Sherry, John Sices

True Seed: 20 | Record: 80-40 | NCAA Wins: 4 | Coach: Massimino

The class of 1982 went to three straight NCAA tournaments, reaching the Elite Eight in their senior season. They won the EAA (now A-10) Regular Season Championship in back to back seasons, including winning the EAA Tournament their sophomore season before Villanova left for the Big East. They would also make the finals of the Big East Tournament their first two years in the conference. In their final year, the class also cracked to AP Poll Top 20 for the first time in their career. The star of the class, Aaron Howard, ranks 24th in blocks and 38th in rebounds All-Time for the Wildcats.

12 Seed) Class of 2014: James Bell, Tony Chennault, Nick McMahon

True Seed: 45 | Record: 83-50 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Wright

The class of 2014 went to three NCAA tournaments, but only came away with a single career tournament victory in their senior season. That year, the team was ranked as high as third in the AP Poll, and finished the season ranked 6th. This was also the first year after the Big East restructured, and Nova won the Big East Regular Season Championship. The star of the class, James Bell, ranks 32nd in steals and 60th in points All-Time for Villanova.

#6 Class of ‘81 vs #11 Class of ‘96

6 Seed) Class of 1981: Alex Bradley, Jim Knoebel, Luis Pagan, Tom Sienkiewicz

True Seed: 21 | Record: 79-41 | NCAA Wins: 4 | Coach: Massimino

The class of ‘81 went to three NCAA tournaments, including the Elite 8 their freshman season. They won three straight EAA (now A-10) Regular Season Championships, as well as two EAA Tournament Championships. They also took Nova to its first Big East Tournament Championship game in they’re first season in the conference. The star of the class, Alex Bradley, ranks 15th in rebounds and 17th in scoring All-Time for the Wildcats. Classmate Tom Sienkiewicz ranks 30th in assists and 43rd in scoring All-Time for Villanova.

11 Seed) Class of 1996: Matt Courture, Eric Eberz, Nick Fragakis, Jaime Gregg, Roscoe Harris, Kerry Kittles

True Seed: 44 | Record: 79-46 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Lappas

The class of 1996 was filled with talent, but only managed a single victory in two trips to the NCAA tournament their junior and senior seasons. In each of those seasons the teams cracked the AP Poll’s Top 10, reaching as high as 2nd overall their senior year. The class did win Villanova’s only NIT Tournament Championship in ‘94. They followed that with the schools first Big East Tournament Championship in 1995.

The star of the class, Kerry Kittles, won the ‘95 Big East Player of the Year and was a consensus first team All-American in ‘96. With 2,243 career points, Kittles is Villanova’s All-Time leading scorer. He also ranks 1st in career steals, 15th in career assists, and 24th in career rebounds. Classmate Eric Eberz was another prolific scorer for the Wildcats, ranking 34th in points All-Time.

#3 Class of ‘11 vs #14 Class of ‘60

3 Seed) Class of 2011: Corey Fisher, Malcolm Grant, Andrew Ott, Antonio Pena, Corey Stokes, Russell Wooten

True Seed: 12 | Record: 98-41 | NCAA Wins: 7 | Coach: Wright

The class of 2011 was the first in Villanova history to go to the NCAA tournament and be ranked in the AP Poll in four consecutive seasons. They reached the Sweet 16 and Final Four in their freshman and sophomore seasons, but failed to make it out of the first weekend after that. The class featured three players who put up big numbers for the Wildcats. Elusive guard Corey Fisher ranks 7th in assists, 12th in steals, and 14th in points All-Time for Villanova. Sharp shooter Corey Stokes ranks 42nd in career points for the ‘Cats. And big man Antonio Pena ranks 17th in rebounds, 18th in blocks, and 58th in points All-Time for Nova.

14 Seed) Class of 1960: Bob Goudlock, Bill Penny, George Raveling, Joe Zawawacki

True Seed: 53 | Record: 50-24 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance

The class of 1960 went to two NIT tournaments, but only had a single post-season victory. The class made the AP Poll in two of their three seasons, ranking as high as 8th in the nation their senior year. The star of the class, George Raveling, ranks 12th in career rebounds for the Wildcats.

#7 Class of ‘15 vs #10 Class of ‘51

7 Seed) Class of 2015: Darrun Hilliard, Tyrone Johnson, Markus Kennedy, JayVaughn Pinkston, Ash Yacoubou

True Seed: 28 | Record: 95-41 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Wright

The class of 2015 went to three NCAA tournaments, but never made it out of the first weekend. In their last two seasons, their teams ranked in the Top 3 of the AP Poll, reaching as high as #2 overall. Those two seasons, Villanova also won the Big East Regular Season Championship. In their senior year, the class set new school records for wins in a season and win% in a season, the later of which still stands. That final year, the team also won the school’s second Big East Tournament.

The stars of the class were sharp shooter Darrun Hilliard and big man JayVaughn Pinkston. Hilliard ranks 11th in steals, 28th in points, and 32nd in assists All-Time for Villanova. Pinkston ranks 17th in career blocks, 20th in career rebounds, 22nd in career points, and 30th in career steals for the Wildcats.

10 Seed) Class of 1951: Thomas Dolan, Dan Gallagher

True Seed: 37 | Record: 73-15 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance

The class of 1951 went to two NCAA tournaments, but weren’t able to come away with a victory. The were ranked in the AP Poll in each of their three seasons, reaching as high as 7th in two different seasons. However, the members of this class were never more than role players.

#2 Class of ‘09 vs #15 Class of ‘76

2 Seed) Class of 2009: Dwayne Anderson, Bilal Benn, Shane Clark, Dante Cunningham, Frank Tchuisi

True Seed: 5 | Record: 102-37 | NCAA Wins: 9 | Coach: Wright

The class of 2009 went to four NCAA tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final Four in three separate seasons. Each of those years, the team was ranked in the AP Poll, reaching as high as the #2 team in the country. They also won a share of the Big East Regular Season Championship in their freshman season. The star of the class, Dante Cunningham, led the team in scoring his senior season. He ranks 9th in blocks, 13th in rebounds, 15th in steals, and 37th in points All-Time for Villanova. His classmate, Dwayne Anderson, ranks 37th in career steals for the Wildcats.

15 Seed) Class of 1976: Allen Ferguson, Tom Guellich, Jeff McGeehin, Tom Melchionni, Mano Morales, Mike Stack

True Seed: 69 | Record: 43-62 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Kraft/Massimino

The class of 1976 was the first class at Villanova after the NCAA allowed freshmen to play at the varsity level. Unfortunately, the class was never able to get enough court time to take advantage of the new rule. The team never made a post-season tournament and only posted a single winning season in their senior year. The star of the class, Tom Melchionni, never averaged more than 5 points per game in a season. Classmate Mike Stack did start his freshman season, but quickly lost that role after his first year didn’t see much production.

Vote Now!

Thanks for reading! Voting for each round will close at midnight. Be sure to check back next week to vote on the Second Round. We’ll also announce the winners from today’s vote. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.