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, well probably none of us, the two classes that led Villanova to National Championships are the ones left standing in the Championship Game of our Favorite Class Tournament. The class of ‘85 racked up 83.4% of the vote yesterday over Howard Porter’s class of ‘71. On the other side of the bracket, the class of ‘16 got 63.1% of the vote against arguably the most talented class in school history, the class of ‘06.
And now, we have our final matchup. The team that went perfect because it had to against the team that was basically flawless because it could be. The Cinderella Story vs the Redemption Story. The only thing these teams had in common besides the name on their jersey and the fans at their back, was massive amounts of underrated talent.
For me, I might have to abstain from this one, I just have so much love for both of these teams. Having been born during the ‘85 season, that team was part of the mythos that drew me into Villanova basketball. The stories of that season are part of the reason I chose to go to Villanova in the first place. On the flip side, my daughter was born during the ‘16 season, and that’s the year I started writing for VUHoops. It’s the most involved and engaged I’d ever been in a Villanova season, and the joy and payoff that came from it... well words just can’t describe.
The point is that we’re a very, very lucky fan base. I love doing these tournaments every year because it serves as a reminder of the volume of terrific players and coaches the school has sustained over such a long period of time. The fact that the program is currently in the best position it’s ever been in just makes that even more incredible.
All of that said, this isn’t soccer. There will be no tie. A winner must be crowned! Who’s your favorite Villanova Basketball class of the last 70 years!?!?
#1 Class of ‘85 vs #2 Class of ‘16
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.
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.
Thanks for your vote! Polls for each round will close at midnight EST. Be sure to check back next time when we announce our Champion. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.