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.
Some of these literally came down to the wire, but the Final Four have been set. Only one of our #1 seeds made the Final Four, and only two classes with a national championship ended up in the final stages. The winners from yesterday’s vote include the classes of ‘71 (53.7%), ‘85 (79.8%), ‘06 (96.3%), and ‘16 (64.1%).
Now that our Regional Champions are set, we have two epic showdowns. First, it’s the Cinderella class of ‘85 against the ‘71 class that almost ended UCLA’s dominant championship run. Next, it’s Jay Wright’s first ranked class against his first championship class. I honestly don’t know who I’m picking in either of these, so I hope you all do!
#1 Class of ‘85 vs #4 Class of ‘71
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.
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 ‘16 vs #5 Class of ‘06
2 Seed) Class of 2016: Ryan Arcidiacono, Mislav Brzoja, Dylan Ennis, Patrick Farrell, Henry Lowe, Daniel Ochefu, Kevin Rafferty
True Seed: 7 | Record: 117-27 | NCAA Wins: 8 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2016 went to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, winning the national championship their senior season. They were ranked in the Top 3 of the AP Poll in each of their last three seasons, including reaching the #1 rank for the first time in school history during their senior season. They won the 2015 Big East Tournament, and won three consecutive Big East Regular Season Championships.
The star of the class, Ryan Arcidiacono, was the 2015 Co-Big East Player of the Year and the 2016 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He ranks 4th in assists, 14th in steals, and 21st in scoring All-Time for Villanova. His teammate, Daniel Ochefu, was the 2014 Co-Big East Most Improved Player, and currently ranks 5th in blocks, 7th in rebounds, 35th in steals, and tied for 61st in scoring 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.
Thanks for your vote! Polls for each round will close at midnight EST. Be sure to check back next time for the Championship. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.