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 2017 Villanova Wildcats
The moment - Omari Spellman ruled ineligible, Phil Booth injured
With a large part of the core returning, Villanova became the first serious threat of a repeat champion since 2007. Yet, luck was working against the Wildcats early. Five-star freshman Omari Spellman was ruled ineligible before the season for dubious reasons, and Phil Booth was limited to just three games because of a knee injury. Without them, the Wildcats were still the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament but fell in the second round to Wisconsin, 65-62.
What lied ahead
Second round - No. 8 seed Wisconsin
Sweet 16 - No. 4 seed Florida
Elite 8 - No. 7 seed South Carolina
Final 4 - No. 1 seed Gonzaga
Title game - No. 1 seed North Carolina
The optimist’s view
Villanova should have won three straight titles. Spellman and Booth more than make up a three-point difference against Wisconsin, and from there, the Wildcats roll to the Final Four. With the experience of last year’s title, they blow past Gonzaga and then give North Carolina more heartbreak.
The pessimist’s view
It’s hard to argue against that Villanova would have won the region with Spellman and Booth, but after that, things get tricky. Gonzaga was the only team ahead of the Wildcats in KenPom that year, and North Carolina would have had the revenge factor on its side. Plus, if Villanova went deep this year, many of the Wildcats may have went pro, leaving the 2018 roster thinner.
How far would the 2017 Villanova Wildcats have went with Omari Spellman and Phil Booth?
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