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.
There were a few upsets in the Severance Region yesterday, but the #1 overall seed breezed through the first round. The classes of ‘66 (67.1% of the vote), ‘72 (91.7%), ‘80 (85.2%), ‘85 (99.5%), ‘00 (67.8%), ‘05 (67.2%), ‘07 (98.5%), and ‘19 (95.5%) will all be back in action on Tuesday for the kick-off the second round.
As for today, we’re revealing and voting on the first round of the Wright Region. The #1 seed in the region is arguably Villanova’s most decorated and accomplished group, the Class of 2017. But they’ll have to outlast their former teammates and #2 seed, the Class of 2016, if they hope to reach our Final Four.
#1 Class of 2017 vs #16 Class of 2003
1 Seed) Class of 2017: Denny Grace, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds
True Seed: 2 | Record: 129-17 | NCAA Wins: 9 | Coach: Wright
The Class of 2017 has so many accolades that it will be difficult to list them all here. They were the 2016 National Champions and they made four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, coming in as the #1 overall seed their senior season. They won four consecutive outright Big East Regular Season Championships, a first for the school and the conference. They won two Big East tournaments, with Josh Hart being named the tournament Most Outstanding Player in each of those years. They went undefeated in four years of Big 5 play, another first for the school and the Big 5. The were on the first Villanova team to ever be ranked #1 in the AP Poll, and they were ranked in the Top 3 of the poll in every season they played at Villanova. They never finished a season ranked in the AP Poll any lower than 6th.
They also achieved a lot individually. In addition to the BET MOPs, Josh Hart was the 2017 Big East Player of the Year and a unanimous first team All-American. He also won the 2017 Julius Erving award as the nation’s best small forward. For Villanova, Hart ranks 10th in points, 14th in rebounds, 16th in steals, and 27th in assists All-Time. His teammate, Kris Jenkins, will forever be know for hitting the biggest shot in Villanova history to win the 2016 National Championship on a buzzer beater three. Jenkins ranks 36th in scoring, 40th in assists, and tied for 40th in steals All-Time for the Wildcats. The big man of the class, Darryl Reynolds, closed out his career tied for 18th All-Time in blocks for Villanova.
16 Seed) Class of 2003: Gary Buchanan, Lou Ruskey, Andrew Sullivan, Ricky Wright
True Seed: 63 | Record: 72-55 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Lappas/Wright
The class of 2003 made four consecutive trips to the NIT tournament, reaching the Elite Eight in their junior year under new head coach Jay Wright. The class’s leading scorer, Gary Buchanan, averaged double digit scoring every season of his career and to date was Jay Wright’s most efficient 3-point shooter. He’s one of Villanova’s best All-Time players, ranking 12th in scoring, 18th in steals, and 22nd in assists. His running mate, Ricky Wright, was also one of Villanova’s best All-Time big men, ranking 16th in blocks, 21st in rebounds, and 47th in scoring.
#8 Class of ‘62 vs #9 Class of ‘99
8 Seed) Class of 1962: John Brokars, Richard LeFevre, Thomas Morris, Joe Walsh, Hubie White
True Seed: 31 | Record: 52-26 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Severance/Kraft
The class of 1962 went to the Elite 8 of the ‘62 NCAA Tournament and the ‘60 NIT Tourney. In both of those seasons, the team was ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Poll. The star of the class, Hubie White, averaged over 20 points per game for his career and ranks 18th in rebounding and 20th in scoring All-Time in just three seasons playing at Villanova.
9 Seed) Class of 1999: Howard Brown, John Celestand, Chris Lee, Rafal Bigus
True Seed: 34 | Record: 83-45 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Lappas
The class of 1999 went to three NCAA tournaments, but never made it out of the first weekend. They spent their entire first two seasons ranked in the AP Poll, cracking the Top 5 both years. Also in 1997, they reached the Big East Tournament finals. The class produced three stars who combined to average over 34 points per game their senior season. John Celestand ranks 11th in assists, 17th in steals, and 45th in scoring All-Time for Villanova. Fellow guard Howard Brown is 25th in steals, tied for 32nd in assists, and tied for 56th in scoring All-Time for the Wildcats. Big man Rafal Bigus is 15th in blocks All-Time for Nova.
#4 Class of ‘08 vs #13 Class of ‘67
4 Seed) Class of 2008: Kyle Lowry
True Seed: 15 | Record: 52-13 | NCAA Wins: 5 | Coach: Wright
This is the only one man class in the tournament, but it’s the most successful NBA player of the Wright era. In just two seasons, Lowry made the Sweet 16 and then the Elite 8 before leaving early for the pros. His final year at Nova, his team won a share of the Big East Regular Season Championship and spent most of the year ranked in the Top 5 of the AP Poll. That year he also led the Big East in steals while averaging over 11 points per game. In just two seasons, Lowry recorded over 100 career steals and currently ranks 36th All-Time.
13 Seed) Class of 1967: Frank Gaidjunas, Richard Kelleher, Terry McGuire, John Price, Richard Rago, Bill Soens, Joe Turk
True Seed: 50 | Record: 58-25 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Kraft
The class of 1967 made three straight NIT tournaments, reaching the championship game their first year and a second trip to the Final Four the following season. Despite being ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 10 at the end of the season, they did not make the NCAA tournament that year. Soens, Gaidjunas, and McGuire all cracked the starting line-up, but were never more than role players.
#5 Class of ‘73 vs #12 Class of ‘56
5 Seed) Class of 1973: Charles Coleman, John Gaspar, Bill Harris, Ed Hastings, Tom Ingelsby, Gary Jentz
True Seed: 18 | Record: 58-29 | NCAA Wins: 5 | Coach: Kraft
The class of ‘73 made two trips to the NCAA tournament, including a run to the finals where they lost to UCLA in 1971. They would also be the last class to play all three seasons under head coach Jack Kraft. The star of the class, Tom Ingelsby, ranks 18h in scoring and 26th in assists All-Time for Villanova. His fellow guard, Ed Hastings, ranks 39th on the All-Time assists list.
12 Seed) Class of 1956: John Cirino, Martin Milligan, Larry Tierney
True Seed: 47th | Record: 52-33 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Severance
The class of ‘56 made the Sweet 16 of the 1955 NCAA Tournament, and cracked the AP Poll’s Top 20 in the same season. Cirino and Milligan both made the starting lineup during their careers, but neither was able to make it stick. All three members of the class ended up as minor role players while stars from the other classes took center stage.
#6 Class of ‘89 vs #11 Class of ‘55
6 Seed) Class of 1989: Gary Massey, Doug West, Kenny Wilson
True Seed: 23 | Record: 80-59 | NCAA Wins: 4 | Coach: Massimino
The class of 1989 made two trips to the NCAA tournament, including an Elite 8 run their junior season. They also made two trips to the NIT tournament which also resulted in an Elite 8 run, this time as seniors. In those final two years, the team made the AP Poll’s Top 20 for back-to-back seasons.
The class of ‘89 produced three Wildcat greats. Doug West is the only player in Wildcat history to record 50+ blocks (ranked 24th), 100+ steals (24th), 250+ assists (29th), 600+ rebounds (32nd), and 2,000+ points (5th) in their career. Kenny Wilson is Villanova’s All-Time leader in career assists with 627, and also ranks 20th in steals and 35th in scoring for his career. And Gary Massey, a lock down defender who made the starting lineup as a senior, ranks 4th All-Time in career steals for the Wildcats with 204.
11 Seed) Class of 1955: Jack Devine, Tom Foley, Bob Schafer, William Sigalove
True Seed: 42 | Record: 57-29 | NCAA Wins: 1 | Coach: Severance
The class of 1955 made the NCAA tournament their senior year, advancing to the Sweet 16. They also made the AP Poll’s Top 20 in both their first and final seasons. In the 1952-53 season, the team averaged more offensive points scored per game (93.6) than any other Villanova team on record. That helps explain how Bob Schafer became the first career 2,000+ point scorer in school history. Schafer now ranks 4th on Villanova’s All-Time scoring list, as well as 29th in career rebounds. Teammate Jack Devine ranks 3rd in rebounds and 44th in scoring All-Time for the Wildcats.
#3 Class of ‘10 vs #14 Class of ‘68
3 Seed) Class of 2010: Jason Colenda, Casiem Drummond, Reggie Redding, Scottie Reynolds
True Seed: 10 | Record: 99-40 | NCAA Wins: 7 | Coach: Wright
The class of 2010 made four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 as sophomores and the Final Four as juniors. They were ranked in the AP Poll for each of their last three years, including spending their entire senior season in the Top 10.
The star of the class, Scottie Reynolds, was the 2007 Big East Rookie of the Year. In 2009, he hit a late runner in the lane to send Villanova to the Final Four for the first time since they won it all in ‘85. His senior season, he was a unanimous first team All-American and the Big 5’s Most Outstanding Player. Reynolds finished his career as the school’s 2nd leading scorer All-Time, and also ranks 3rd in steals and 8th in assists. His teammate, Reggie Redding, ranks 22nd in steals and 28th in assists All-Time for the Wildcats.
14 Seed) Class of 1968: Joe Crews, George May, Jim Stinger
True Seed: 55 | Record: 54-29 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Kraft
The class of 1968 went to three straight NIT Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 and an Elite 8. The star of the class, Joe Crews, averaged double digit scoring in each of his three seasons. He also ranks 42nd in rebounding All-Time for the Wildcats.
#7 Class of ‘70 vs #10 Class of ‘50
7 Seed) Class of 1970: Fran O’Hanlon, Sam Sims, Joe Walter, Leon Wojnowski
True Seed: 26 | Record: 62-21 | NCAA Wins: 2 | Coach: Kraft
The Class of 1970 went to two NCAA tournaments, reaching the Elite 8 in their senior season. They were ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Poll in each of their last two seasons. They also made the NIT tournament during their first varsity season. O’Hanlon and Sims were both two year starters, and each averaged double digit scoring in their senior season.
10 Seed) Class of 1950: Paul Arizin, William Barry, Frank Buckley, Perry Del Purgatorio, Joseph Hannan, Brooks Ricca, Thomas Sabol, Leo Wolf
True Seed: 39 | Record: 63-17 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Severance
The class of 1950 went to the ‘49 NCAA Tournament, but lost in the Sweet 16, which was the first round at the time. The team finished their last two seasons ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 15. The class star, Paul Arizin, averaged 20 points per game for his career. In his senior season, Arizin was a consensus first team All-American and won the Helms Foundation and Sporting News Player of the Year awards. Arizin still ranks 16th in scoring All-Time for Villanova.
#2 Class of ‘16 vs #15 Class of ‘02
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.
15 Seed) Class of 2002: Michael Bradley, B.J. Johnson, Brooks Sales, Bobby Smith
True Seed: 58 | Record: 78-50 | NCAA Wins: 0 | Coach: Lappas/Wright
The class of 2002 made just one NCAA appearance in their freshman season, but were bounced in the first round. They went to the NIT the next three seasons, making the Elite 8 in their senior year. The star of the class, Michael Bradley, played just one season for the Wildcats after transferring in from Kentucky before leaving for the NBA draft. That season he averaged over 20 points per game. The other featured big man of the class was Brooks Sales, who ranks 9th in rebounds, 10th in blocks, tied for 27th in steals, and tied for 61st in scoring All-Time for Villanova.
Thanks for reading! Voting for each round will close at midnight. Be sure to check back Monday as we reveal and vote on the first round for the Massimino Region. We’ll also announce the winners from today’s vote. Data for the tournament was researched at villanova.com and sports-reference.com.