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Wildcat What Ifs: 2005 Villanova

What if Allan Ray wasn’t called for a travel?

Villanova Wildcats v North Carolina Tar Heels Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With the abrupt end to the 2019-20 Villanova basketball season, many members of Nova Nation were left wondering, “what if?” It wouldn’t be the first time. The Wildcats, like every team, have a few games or moments that could have led to potential glory if things would have broken differently. In the Jay Wright era, there are definitely a few of them. So this week we’ll be taking a look at some of those seasons. First up…

The 2005 Villanova Wildcats

The moment - Sweet 16 vs UNC

Pitted against the title favorite North Carolina Tar Heels in the regional seminal, Villanova was more than up for the task. The Wildcats led 33-29 at halftime, but trailed 66-63 with nine seconds left. That’s when Allan Ray seemed to hit a layup (while potentially getting fouled). Instead of having a chance to tie, the whistle blown was for a Ray travel. The consensus around the media was that it was the wrong call. Nevertheless, North Carolina would win 67-66.

What lied ahead

Elite 8 - No. 6 seed Wisconsin

Final 4 - No. 5 seed Michigan State

Title game - No. 1 seed Illinois

The optimist’s view

There should have been a whistle…for a foul! Ray would have tied the game with a free throw, and Villanova would have finished the job in overtime. If UNC was the eventual champion that year, and we beat them, then we would have won it all. We would have stormed through the three Big Ten teams to take home the first title in 20 years.

The pessimist’s view

Even if Ray didn’t travel and the basket counted, the Wildcats were still down 66-65 with nine seconds left. The odds were not in their favor. If Villanova did pull off the miracle, they were still only halfway to winning the tournament, and that Illinois team waiting in the final was maybe even better than North Carolina.


How far would Villanova have gone in 2005 if Allan Ray wasn’t called for a travel?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Still lose to UNC in Sweet 16
    (24 votes)
  • 10%
    Elite 8
    (23 votes)
  • 31%
    Final 4
    (69 votes)
  • 19%
    Title game
    (43 votes)
  • 26%
    National champs
    (57 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now