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.
To the surprise of no one, every class in the Wright Region that advanced to the Sweet 16, played for Wright in the Sweet 16... and beyond. In fact, only Kyle Lowry didn’t make the Final Four out of this group, so it should be a good showdown next week. The four classes to advance are ‘08 (70.1%), ‘10 (61%), ‘16 (94.2%), and ‘17 (99.3%).
As for today’s vote, the Massimino Region has yet to produce an upset. That could change quickly as the class of ‘06 is a lower seed for the first time. Phil Booth and the #1 seed barely made it out of the first round, so we’ll have to see how they fair moving forward as well.
#1 Class of ‘18 vs #8 Class of ‘98
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.
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.
#4 Class of ‘83 vs #5 Class of ‘06
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.
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.
#3 Class of ‘87 vs #6 Class of ‘64
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.
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.
#2 Class of ‘88 vs #7 Class of ‘97
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.
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.
Thanks for voting! The polls for each round will close at midnight. Be sure to check back for the Kraft Region and the final vote of the second round. We’ll also announce the winners from today. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.