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 half of the Elite 8 is set, and once again the champs are reigning supreme. All four of the classes that have advanced so far were part of a national championship team. The official results from Friday and the classes moving on are ‘85 (93.5%), ‘16 (94.9%), ‘17 (88.8%), and ‘19 (72.8%).
The remaining spots in tomorrow’s Elite 8 will be decided today, and it’s another slate of four truly great matchups. The 2016 National Championships leading scorer vs Jay Wright’s first Villanova recruiting class. The NCAA Champs vs the NIT Champs. Two classes that each made the NCAA title game. And finally, the class that gave Nova its first Final Four in over two decades vs one of Nova’s greatest players of All-Time. Let’s get voting!
#1 Class of ‘18 vs #5 Class of ‘06
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.
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 #7 Class of ‘97
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.
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.
#1 Class of ‘86 vs #4 Class of ‘71
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.
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.
#2 Class of ‘09 vs #11 Class of ‘96
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.
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.
Thanks for your vote! Polls for each round will close at midnight EST. Be sure to check back next time for the Elite 8. We’ll also announce the winners from today’s vote. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.