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The Sun’s Arizin: Villanova Basketball’s Final Four Storylines

So much to talk about as the Wildcats reach their 7th Final Four.

Villanova Wildcats

Happy Monday Nova Nation! Your Villanova Wildcats are once again in the Final Four! For the 7th time in program history and the 4th time under Jay Wright, Nova will be playing on the final weekend of the college basketball season.

There will be so many storylines to follow in the coming week, but I figured we’d touch on the biggest ones right off the bat. So settle in, because it’s going to be a week full of emotions and excitement.

Justin Moore and Jordan Longino

Within a single week in the middle of the NCAA tournament, Villanova has officially announced season ending injuries for two members of their already short rotation. Justin Moore suffered a torn achilles on Saturday against Houston and will undergo surgery this week. Meanwhile Jordan Longino suffered a meniscus tear in his knee prior to the Delaware game, and underwent arthoscopic surgery this past Friday.

First and foremost, we wish a speedy and full recovery to both of these players who gave everything they had to this team and this program. It’s a heartbreaking way for each of them to end their seasons, but this team isn’t playing in a Final Four without them playing and pushing their teammates. While everyone is thrilled to have reached this milestone, you can’t help but feel empathy for these young men and it certainly made Saturday night at least a little bitter sweet.

Jay Wright’s Fourth Final Four

A lot of the credit for this team’s success does need to go to head coach Jay Wright. Yes it’s a great team effort and yes there are some amazing players on this team that absolutely refuse to lose. But they’re not at Villanova, and Villanova is not in this position without Jay Wright.

Wright (and Bill Self) become the 21st and 22nd coaches to reach four Final Fours. There are now just seven active coaches that have reached that milestone, including K, Izzo, Boeheim, Pitino, and Calipari.

On a Villanova record side, Wright is now responsible for more than half of the school’s Final Fours. We’ll likely deep dive Nova’s Final Four history further this week, but Jay just continues to cement himself as Villanova’s greatest coach, and one of the best the sport has ever seen.

The Identity Of This Final Four Team

Each of Jay Wright’s Final Four teams have had an identity, and this one is no different. 2009’s identity was star power. It was Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham as the show, and while there were a number of talented players around them, the team’s success was dependent on those two.

2016 was the 3 and D, a combination of arguably the greatest defense of the Jay Wright era and amazingly hot shooting. It will of course be remembered forever as well by the greatest shot in basketball history.

2018 was THE greatest assembly of talent in program history. Not saying there aren’t other teams that were close, but this team in my opinion is the best Villanova ever had.

2022 has surely been a bit of an up and down season. But one thing no one has ever questioned is the heart of this team. This is the toughest, most strong willed team of the Jay Wright era. And that fact alone should give fans optimism that if any team can overcome injuries, setbacks, and hardships, this is the group to do it.

Villanova vs Kansas

In the few seconds the talking heads take a quick break from talking about Coach K to mention the other game happening this weekend, get ready for this stat:

“Every time Villanova and Kansas face off in the tournament the winner goes on to claim the National Championship!”

Yes, it’s true, but the NCAA isn’t the only time these team face each other. All time Villanova is 5-4 against Kansas. But a little more applicable to this matchup, Jay Wright is 5-2 against Bill Self. While both coaches have won on their home courts, Jay is up 3-1 on neutral courts. Their most recent matchup was in the 2020 season where Kansas would have been the #1 overall seed. Villanova hosted Kansas at the Wells Fargo Center in December of that season and won 56-55. Key to note, starters in that game included Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, Ochai Agbaji, and David McCormack.

In other news...

Villanova vs Kansas

Villanova is a 3.5-point underdog vs. Kansas in Final Four | The Inquirer
With Justin Moore out, the Wildcats are a 3.5-point underdog.

Final Four Picks: No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 1 Kansas
Video from CBS Sports HQ

Villanova Men’s Basketball

Wildcats Down Houston 50-44, Return to Final Four | Villanova University
Villanova held off Houston Saturday night in San Antonio

Villanova is ultimate team with the ultimate coach | New York Post
SAN ANTONIO — One by one, the Villanova players climbed the ladder to cut down the net, and you have to believe their coach, Jay Wright, could probably do...

Franklin’s Jermaine Samuels leads No. 2 Villanova to Final Four berth |
Franklin’s Jermaine Samuels helped lead No. 2 Villanova to a Final Four berth. The Wildcats outlasted Houston, 50-44, on Saturday.

Final Four

Duke vs UNC leads blueblood Final Four with endless storylines | Sports Illustrated
It’s a Final Four so steeped in pedigree that Kansas vs Villanova is firmly the undercard.

11 amazing plots for a Final Four that is a gift from the basketball gods |
Mike Lopresti talks about the amazing storylines that UNC's first matchup with Duke in the NCAA Final Four brings for fans.

March Madness - First look at the 2022 NCAA Final Four men's basketball teams | ESPN
We have our 2022 Final Four. Myron Medcalf has your guide to the final national-championship contenders.

The lowest seeds to make the Men's Final Four, Elite 8 and Sweet 16 |
Only five teams with double-digit seeds have made the March Madness Final Four since the men's field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.


Justin Moore injury update: Villanova confirms guard sustained torn achilles | Sports Illustrated
The junior All-Big East talent exited in the closing moments against Houston.

Justin Moore injury: Villanova's Final Four chances take hit | New York Post
Villanova announced Sunday that an MRI exam revealed guard Justin Moore suffered a torn right Achilles tendon.

Justin Moore Injury Announced: College Basketball World Reacts | The Spun
On Sunday, Villanova head coach Jay Wright confirmed the worst for junior guard Justin Moore: the upperclassman suffered a torn Achilles.

Moore Suffered a Torn Achilles Tendon in Saturday's Win | Villanova University
Moore set to undergo surgery this week

Longino to Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery Friday | Villanova University
Longino to have surgery on his left knee Friday in the Philadelphia area

Justin Moore sustained a torn Achilles in Villanova's Elite Eight win Saturday | The Inquirer
The star guard will not play against Kansas in the Final Four. Moore will have surgery this week.

NBA Wildcats

Jalen Brunson celebrates Villanova making Final 4 on Twitter | Smoking Cuban
Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson celebrated his alma mater Villanova making the Final Four on Twitter on Saturday night. See the Tweets here.

Doc Rivers, Sixers praise Suns guard Mikal Bridges as a defender | Sixers Wire
Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers give their respect to Phoenix Suns guard Mikal Bridges as a defender.

Villanova Athletics

Villanova racks up 15 runs to sweep Spiders | Villanova University
RICHMOND, Va. – For a second-straight day, Villanova racked up double-digit runs, setting a new season high in a 15-4 victory over Richmond to secure the first sweep

Villanova falls to No. 24 Marist | Villanova University
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Kaysie Stuba recorded a team-high five points on Sunday morning as Villanova fell to No. 24 Marist, 12-9, at the McCann Natatorium.

Six-goal third period lifts Villanova over Siena | Villanova University
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Villanova netted six goals to create the separation it needed to take down Siena, 15-12, on Sunday afternoon at the Siena Swim Center.

Wildcats Fall to Butler, 6-1 | Villanova University
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Villanova (2-11) scored its only point of the match with a victory at No. 4 singles and fell by a final score of 6-1 to a hot Butler (9-7) squad

White and Rauch Hit Home Runs as Wildcats Sweep St. John’s, 9-1 | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa.—Freshman right fielder Kelsey White (Taunton, Mass.) hit her first collegiate home run in the bottom of the first inning and graduate pitcher Paige

Men's DI Roundup: Villanova's O Cruises; Cole Perfect at X & Hopkins, Georgetown, Albany Key Wins | Inside Lacrosse
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