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. Next up…
The 2006 Villanova Wildcats
The moment - Curtis Sumpter knee injury
Fresh off a Sweet 16 run in 2005, Villanova was looking like a Final Four threat in 2006 with a loaded roster of returnees. That took a hit right before the season was set to begin when one of the team’s best players, Curtis Sumpter, injured his left knee and missed the entire season. Without him, the Wildcats still earned a No. 1 seed, but fell to eventual champion Florida in the Elite 8.
What lied ahead
With Sumpter, let’s say the Wildcats win the Big East and finish ahead UConn in the seedings. That would instead have given a tourney run of...
First round - No. 16 seed Albany
Second round -No. 8 seed Kentucky
Sweet 16 - No. 5 seed Washington
Elite 8 - No. 11 seed George Mason
Final 4 - No. 3 seed Florida
Title game - No. 2 seed UCLA
The optimist’s view
Villanova went 28-5 without Sumpter. Add in his 15.3 ppg as a junior, and the Wildcats are the best team in the country. They breeze through their region, and give Florida a new look in the Final Four and earn the win. After that it’s revenge for the 1971 final by beating UCLA.
The pessimist’s view
It’s hard to say how much better Villanova would be with Sumpter. The team meshed very well that year without him. Even if he did play, beating Florida was going to be tough. The Gators were one of the best team’s in NCAA tournament history, as they won two titles in a row. Would Sumpter really make up for the 13-point margin in their actual meeting?
How far would the 2006 Villanova Wildcats have went with Curtis Sumpter?
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