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.
The first round has come to a close, and with it came the closest match-up so far this tournament. With a final vote count of 53-54, the class of ‘14 just barely pulled the upset over the class of ‘82 to advance. The list of classes moving on from the final region include ‘65 (68.3%), ‘71 (99.1%), ‘86 (89.6%), ‘96 (81.6%), ‘11 (79.8%), ‘14 (50.5%), and ‘15 (99.1%).
We kick off this week with the start of round two, and it looks like the Championship classes of #1 ‘85 and #2 ‘19 are on a collision course. Can any of the lower seeds pull the upset and make this year’s Final Four? It’s up to your vote!
#1 Class of ‘85 vs #8 Class of ‘66
1 Seed) Class of 1985: Brian Harrington, Dwayne McClain, Gary McLain, Ed Pinckney
True Seed: 1 | Record: 92-38 | NCAA Wins: 11 | Coach: Massimino
The Class of 1985 made up three of Villanova’s five starters in their senior season as they would end their tenure at Villanova by winning the NCAA National Championship. This wasn’t their only successful post-season, as they won at least one NCAA tournament game every year, including back to back trips to the Elite Eight their first two years on campus. They also made the finals of the Big East Tournament in their freshman year. They were ranked as high as 4th in the AP poll during their sophomore season, and were ranked during three of their four years at Nova.
Ed Pinckney was a four year starter, and is one of only three Villanova players to record 1,000+ points (1,865), 500+ rebounds (1107), 200+ assists (226), 100+ steals (196), and 50+ blocks (253). Dwayne McClain, another four year starter, currently ranks in the Top 30 All-Time in steals, assists, blocks, and scoring. The third star of this class, Gary McLain, is Top 10 All-Time in assists, and ranks 38th All-Time in steals.
8 Seed) Class of 1966: Steve Krines, Larry Livers, Bill Melchionni, Richie Moore, Bernie Schaffer, Kevin Traynor
True Seed: 32 | Record: 65-20 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Kraft
The class of ‘66 reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament their first year, and were ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll in each of their first two seasons. Their final two seasons included trips to the NIT Final Four, losing in the championship to future Big East rival St. John’s in their junior year. The class’s star, Bill Melchionni, averaged 27.6 points per game his senior season and currently ranks 19th All-Time in scoring for the Wildcats.
#5 Class of ‘07 vs #13 Class of ‘00
5 Seed) Class of 2007: Ross Condon, Mike Nardi, Will Sheridan
True Seed: 17 | Record: 92-41 | NCAA Wins: 5 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2007 went to three straight NCAA tournaments, including Sweet 16 and Elite 8 runs. They also made the Sweet 16 in the NIT their freshman year. In their junior season, they were ranked in the Top 5 of the AP Poll the entire year and were Co-Big East Regular Season Champions. Mike Nardi, now a coach on Jay Wright’s staff, was a four year starter and ranks 13th in assists, 29th in steals, and 41st in scoring All-Time for the Wildcats. The other star of the class, Will Sheridan, ranks 8th in blocks, 23rd in rebounds, and 34th in steals All-Time.
13 Seed) Class of 2000: Malik Allen, T.J. Caouette, Brian Lynch, Tim Thomas
True Seed: 49 | Record: 77-51 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Lappas
The class of 2000 was full of talent, but ultimately only achieved one NCAA victory in two trips to the tournament. In their freshman season, the Cats were ranked as high as 4th in the AP poll, made the finals of the Big East Tournament, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After that they were bounced in the first round of the ‘99 NCAA Tournament, and only made the second round of the ‘00 NIT.
One reason the class wasn’t as successful later on was the early departure to the NBA of Tim Thomas after his freshman year. The 7th overall pick of the ‘97 NBA Draft averaged over 16 points and 6 rebounds in his lone year with the Wildcats and was named the Big East Rookie of the Year. The class’s other star big man, Malik Allen, is currently ranked 4th in blocks, 25th in rebounds, and 54th in scoring All-Time at Villanova. The talented guard in this class, Brian Lynch, is ranked 26th in steals and tied for 30th in assists All-Time for the Wildcats.
#3 Class of ‘72 vs #6 Class of ‘80
3 Seed) Class of 1972: Mike Daly, Chris Ford, Bob Gohl, Joe McDowell, Hank Siemiontkowski
True Seed: 9 | Record: 69-22 | NCAA Wins: 7 | Coach: Kraft
The class of 1972 helped Villanova reach the ‘71 NCAA championships, as well as the Elite 8 the year before and the Sweet 16 the year after. They were also ranked in the Top 12 of the AP Poll during each of their three seasons, cracking the Top 10 their first two years. The class star, Chris Ford, started all three years of varsity and currently ranks 5th in assists, 31st in scoring, and 41st in rebounds All-Time for Villanova. Hank Siemiontkowski is also on the All-Time lists, ranking 19th in rebounds and 46th in scoring for the Wildcats.
6 Seed) Class of 1980: Marty Caron, Reggie Herron, Steve Lincoln, Rory Sparrow
True Seed: 24 | Record: 82-40 | NCAA Wins: 3 | Coach: Massimino
The class of 1980 was the only Villanova class to play their entire careers in either the EAA and ECBL conferences before the school joined the Big East to start the 1980-81 season. They reached the NCAA tournament twice, including a run to the Elite 8 their sophomore season. As juniors, they led Villanova to the NIT Final Four, finishing in 3rd place. The class’s star, Rory Sparrow, was a three year starter and currently ranks 6th in assists and 51st in scoring All-Time for Villanova. Steve Lincoln, who was Sparrow’s back-up off the bench, ranks 42nd in assists All-Time for the Wildcats.
#2 Class of ‘19 vs #10 Class of ‘05
2 Seed) Class of 2019: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Eric Paschall
True Seed: 8 | Record: 67-9 | NCAA Wins: 7 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2019 has only played for two seasons, but they’ve arguably been two of the best seasons in school history. They’ve made the NCAA tournament in each season, winning the 2016 National Championship and entering the 2017 tournament as the #1 overall seed. They’re also currently on pace to have 134 career wins, which would be the most victories of any class in Villanova history. They’ve been ranked #1 in the AP Poll in each of their two seasons on campus, and last year’s team was ranked in the Top 4 for the entire season.
Even with only two years played, this class is already claiming spots on the All-Time lists. Jalen Brunson is currently tied for 32nd in assists while Mikal Bridges ranks 22nd in blocks and 39th in steals. Both should continue to climb up the All-Time ranks this upcoming season.
10 Seed) Class of 2005: Marcus Austin, Chris Charles, Tom Grace
True Seed: 40 | Record: 76-54 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2005 made the NCAA Sweet 16 in their senior season, and in three trips to the NIT before that they made two Elite 8s. They also cracked the AP Poll’s Top 20 their senior year. However, this class was all career role players who never broke into the starting line-ups that featured future NBA pros.
Thanks for your vote! Voting for each round will close at midnight EST. Be sure to check back next time to vote on the Wright Region’s 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.