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 field of 64 is officially set! The classes of ‘76 (72.1%), ‘77 (68.2%), ‘93 (69.3%), ‘94 (53.6%), ‘95 (79.9%), and ‘03 (85.5%) all advanced past the Play-In round, but now they’ll have to take on some of the best and most beloved classes in Villanova history.
Today we reveal the Severance Region of the tournament, featuring some elite players and fan favorites. We start off with the #1 overall seed and group most responsible for their NCAA Championship, the class of 1985.
#1 Class of ‘85 vs #16 Class of ‘95
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.
Class of 1995: Kevin Cox, Jonathan Haynes, Ron Wilson
True Seed: 64 | Record: 67-54 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Massimino/Lappas
The Class of 1995 helped Villanova win its first NIT Championship in 1994, and in their senior season they won the Big East Tournament. In the ‘95 season, the team started the year ranked 22nd and climbed all the way up to 9th before losing in the first round of the NCAAs to Old Dominion. The class’s star player, Jonathan Haynes, transferred to Villanova after a single game playing for John Chaney at Temple and would be named a captain his junior and senior seasons. He’s currently ranked 10th in steals and 12th in assists All-Time for Villanova even though he only played for the Wildcats for three seasons.
#8 Class of ‘66 vs #9 Class of ‘90
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.
9 Seed) Class of 1990: Barry Bekkedam, Greg Downs, Tom Greis, Eric Leslie, Rodney Taylor, Rob Tribuiani
True Seed: 33 | Record: 75-60 | NCAA Wins: 3 | Coach: Massimino
The class of ‘90 made two trips to the NCAA tournament, including an Elite 8 run in their sophomore season. They also made two trips to the NIT, again reaching the Elite 8 in their junior season. While their teams were ranked as high as 11th in the AP poll in those sophomore and junior seasons, they never finished the season as a ranked team. They also made the final of the 1988 Big East Tournament before falling to Syracuse. The class’s star, 7’5” center Tom Greis, was a four year starter who is one of only three Wildcats to record 250+ blocks, 700+ rebounds, and 1,500+ points.
#4 Class of ‘84 vs #13 Class of ‘00
4 Seed) Class of 1984: Frank Dobbs, Michael Enright
True Seed: 16 | Record: 87-39 | NCAA Wins: 6 | Coach: Massimino
The class of ‘84 went to four straight NCAA tournaments, winning at least one game each year and making back to back Elite 8s in their sophomore and junior seasons. The team was ranked as high as 4th in the AP poll their sophomore year, and were ranked at some point in three of their four seasons with the Wildcats. They made the finals of the Big East Tournament in back to back seasons (‘81,’82), and won Villanova’s first Big East Regular Season Championship in 1982, just the school’s third year in the league. The class’s star, Frank Dobbs, had a break out senior season in which he averaged double digit scoring as a starter.
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.
#5 Class of ‘07 vs #12 Class of ‘12
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.
12 Seed) Class of 2012: Taylor King, Dallas Ouano
True Seed: 48 | Record: 59-39 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Wright
None of the members of the class of 2012 were actually on the team all four seasons. Taylor King transferred in from Duke for the 2010 season, but left the program after that year. Dallas Ouano was a walk on for his junior and senior seasons, only playing in five career games. None the less, this class “officially” made it to two NCAA tournaments, but never got past the first weekend. In the year that King was on the team, Villanova was ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 10 for the entire season.
#6 Class of ‘80 vs #11 Class of ‘52
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.
11 Seed) Class of 1952: Tom Brennan, William Davis, John Holland, Ben Stewart
True Seed: 41 | Record: 69-19 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance
The class of 1952 may be one of Nova’s better classes never to win an NCAA tournament game. They made the tournament once in their junior season, but this was also the time when the tourney only invited 16 teams. The class was ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 15 at some point in each of their three seasons, reaching as high as 7th their junior year. The class star, Tom Brennan, started two seasons for the Wildcats and averaged a double-double (11.3 points and 12.5 rebounds) his junior season.
#3 Class of ‘72 vs #14 Class of ‘57
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.
14 Seed) Class of 1957: James Arnott, William Dunlap, Jim Fahey, Al Griffith, Bill Haley, Robert Powers, Jim Smith, David Van Osten, Jack Weissman
True Seed: 56 | Record: 42-37 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Severance
The class of 1957 made their lone trip to the NCAA tournament in 1955, reaching the Sweet 16. That season the team was ranked as high as 17th in the AP Poll. Jim Fahey and Jimmy Smith both started every varsity season for the Wildcats, with Robert Powers and and Al Griffith also cracking the starting lineup during their careers. Smith is currently 63rd on Villanova’s All-Time scoring list after scoring 1,014 career points.
#7 Class of ‘91 vs #10 Class of ‘05
7 Seed) Class of 1991: Chris Masotti, Tim Muller
True Seed: 25 | Record: 77-59 | NCAA Wins: 4 | Coach: Massimino
While the class of 1991 did reach the NCAA tournament three times, including a run to the Elite 8, they weren’t major contributors to those teams. Masotti and Muller were career bench warmers and neither played more than 14 games in a single season. That said, their teams were ranked in the AP Poll in three out of four years, reaching as high as 11th their sophomore seasons.
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.
#2 Class of ‘19 vs #15 Class of ‘92
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.
15 Seed) Class of 1992: Marc Dowdell, David Miller, Michael Possenti, Paul Vrind, Chris Walker, Greg Woodard
True Seed: 57 | Record: 67-61 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Massimino
After making the NIT Elite 8 their freshman year, the class of ‘92 went to two straight NCAA tournaments. However, they were never able to make it out of the first weekend. Their senior season, the would also lose in the first round of the NIT. They did crack the AP Poll Top 25 in both the ‘89 and ‘91 seasons, but they never finished the year as a ranked team.
Despite their disappointing post-seasons, the class did produce some outstanding players. Greg Woodard averaged double digit scoring in three of his four seasons, and currently ranks 38th in All-Time scoring for the Wildcats. Chris Walker ranks 9th in steals and 16th in assists All-Time for Villanova. And Marc Dowdell is currently 34th in rebounds and 41st in assists on Nova’s All-Time rankings.
Thanks for reading! Voting for each round will close at midnight. Be sure to check back tomorrow as we reveal and vote on the first round for the Wright Region. We’ll also announce the winners from today’s vote. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.