Whether through an automatic bid or a committee selection, Villanova was expected to go dancing. Well the Wildcats didn’t have to wait for the Selection Sunday announcement, they punched their ticket Saturday, March 14 by winning the Big East Conference Tournament.
Villanova is heading into the NCAA Tournament with a 32-2 overall record, 16-2 in the Big East and finished with a No. 4 ranking in the nation’s top 25.
Here’s what you need to know about Villanova:
1. This Is Villanova’s 10th NCAA Tournament Appearance in the Past 11 Seasons
Since 1939, Nova has had 43 NCAA Tournament berths. And since 2005, the Wildcats have earned a ticket to the dance every year with the exception of the 2012 season. Villanova has had four Final Four appearances – the most recent in 2009 – and won the national championship in 1985.
2. This Is Villanova’s First Conference Tournament Championship in 20 years
Although the Wildcats have made it to March Madness the past 10 of 11 seasons, this is the first time Villanova has won the Big East Conference Tournament since 1995.
Prior to Saturday, March 14, Nova clenched the conference championship 1978, 1980 and 1995. They also won the regular season conference title in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1997, 2006, 2014 and this year.
3. Darrun Hilliard II Is the Only True Senior on the Wildcats Team
Darrun Hilliard II is the lone senior on the team and leads Nova in scoring – averaging 14.1 points and shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 37.6 from three-point range. The 6-foot-6 senior also averages 3.3 boards and 2.2 assists per game.
Check out the team’s stats here.
4. Jay Wright Is In His 14th Season as Head Coach
Born in Churchville, Pennsylvania, Jay Wright, 53, grew up around the game of basketball. He played all the way up through four years at Bucknell University before graduating in 1983.
Shortly after graduation Wright began his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Rochester – a Division III school. He stayed there until 1986 before moving onto to the assistant position at Drexel. Wright spent a year there and then moved onto Villanova to work as an assistant from 1987-1992. He then took his talents out west to UNLV as an assistant for two years before taking over the program at Hofstra in 1994.
Wright led the charge for the Pride until 2001 when he returned to Villanova – this time as the head coach. Since taking over the Wildcats’ program, Wright has compiled a 437-236 record, was named Big East Coach of the Year four times, Daily News Sportsperson of the Year in 2009, America East Coach of the Year twice and Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2006.
5. Villanova University Is Located In Villanova, Pennsylvania
Villanova University is located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, about 18 miles northwest of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1842 and is rooted in Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition and liberal arts and has an enrollment of 6,554 undergrad and 2,897 graduate students.
Nova has various different college divisions such as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law.