Villanova University has fielded a basketball team since the 1920-21 season. Nicknamed the "Wildcats", Villanova is a member of the Big East Conference and the Philadelphia Big Five. The Villanova Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 29 times, the 8th highest total in NCAA history. They made the Final Four in 1939, 1971, and 1985, and were National Champions in 1985. Villanova has appeared in the NIT 17 times, winning in 1994, and won the Big East Tournament in 1995. Villanova enters the 2007-2008 season with an all-time winning percentage of .637, placing the Wildcats 20th among all NCAA Division I basketball programs.
The team played its first game in 1920 in Alumni Hall on Villanova's campus, beating Catholic University 43-40. In the early years, Villanova's home courts were Alumni Hall and West Catholic High School. The Wildcats moved into the Villanova Field House (now known as the Jake Nevin Field House) in 1932. Villanova also played many home games at the Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1929. The Wildcats played home games in both the Villanova Field House and the Palestra until 1986.
The 1939 team won the first ever NCAA Tournament game, which put them in the first Final Four. Severance led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament again in 1949, 1951, and 1955. Villanova earned NIT bids in 1959 and 1960.
The most storied player in Villanova history, Paul Arizin, played during this era. Severance discovered Arizin, already a Villanova student, playing basketball in the Villanova Fieldhouse. Arizin holds the Villanova record for most points in a game (85), and is credited with inventing the jump shot.
Jack Kraft's Villanova squad, nicknamed the "Iron Men", was made up of just nine players. Led by Howard Porter, Clarence Smith, Hank Siemiontkowski, Chris Ford, and Tom Ingelsby, Villanova amassed a 27-6 record, including a shocking 90-47 victory over a powerhouse Penn squad.
Villanova fought from behind for most of the game, twice cutting the lead to three in the final minutes. Villanova lost by six, 68-62. The six-point loss was the narrowest spread of UCLA's seven consecutive victories in NCAA title games.
Despite the loss, Villanova's Howard Porter was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Porter was later stripped of the award and the team's NCAA victories were vacated after it was discovered that Porter had violated NCAA rules because he had signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association during the middle of his senior year.
Massimino's teams had tremendous success in the NCAA Tournament, usually in an underdog role. Coach Massimino led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament eleven times, winning in 1985. His teams reached the Final Eight five times in an eleven-year span: 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1988. Coach Massimino's teams were well-prepared for the Tournament, always playing a difficult schedule, and playing tenacious defense. Massimino lost the opening game in the Tournament only one time.
Massimino coached for 19 seasons at Villanova, compiling a record of 357-241 (.596). In the NCAA Tournament, Massimino had a 20-10 record (.667).
In 1976, the Wildcats played their first game in the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Because of the greater seating capacity, the 'Cats generally played a few home games each year at the Spectrum until the opening of the Wachovia Center. Villanova christened its current home court, the Pavilion, with a 64-62 victory over Maryland on February 1, 1986.
Top-seeded Georgetown had beaten conference rival Villanova twice during the regular season, and had reached the title game with tenacious defense, which gave up less than 40% of their opponents' shots from the field in both the regular season and the postseason. But in perhaps the greatest shooting performance in NCAA history, the Wildcats went 22-of-28 from the field to convert a blistering 78.6% of their shots, including a second half where they missed only one basket. The Hoyas hung tough, converting 55% of their 53 attempts, but were unable to overcome the astounding shooting performance as Villanova won 66-64 to claim the NCAA championship. The Wildcat squad remains the only eight-seed and the lowest overall seed in tournament history to win the championship, and their overall team shooting percentage remains an NCAA tournament record for a single game. The game is often cited among the greatest upsets in college basketball history. Ed Pinckney, who shot 5-of-7 and had 16 points in the game, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Lappas compiled a respectable record of 174-110 (.613) during his years at Villanova. The 1994 and 1995 teams, led by Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson, and Jonathan Haynes, won the NIT and Big East Tournaments, respectively. However, one week after their victory in the Big East Championship, the 1995 Wildcats lost a triple-overtime thriller to underdog Old Dominion, in a game that many Villanova fans consider the most painful game in Villanova history.
Under Coach Lappas, Villanova reached the NCAA Tournament in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1999, compiling a 2-4 record.
Villanova began playing a few major home games at the Wachovia Center beginning in 1998. Wachovia Center was known as the CoreStates Center and the First Union Center before it adopted the Wachovia Center name.
Jay Wright was named Villanova's coach in 2001. As a former Rollie Massimino assistant, Wright was well-acquainted with Villanova. Prior to his appointment at Villanova, Wright was head coach at Hofstra. Villanova has earned a post-season tournament berth in each of Wright's seven seasons as Villanova head coach. The Wildcats played in the NIT in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. During Wright's tenure, Villanova has compiled a 7-4 record in the NCAA Tournament. Three of Wright's four NCAA Tournament losses at Villanova were to the eventual National Champion.
The 2007-08 campaign was an erratic one for the young Wildcats, a team with no seniors. After a promising 9-1 start, Villanova had a rough start to its Big East season. In mid-season, the Wildcats lost five consecutive games by double digits, as the freshmen struggled to adjust to the college game, and the experienced players encountered difficulties in adjusting to leadership positions. In February and March, as the players became more comfortable within Coach Wright's system, and with improved defense, the team began to win.
A win against Syracuse in the Big East Tournament was good enough for the Wildcats to secure one of the final at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. Villanova proved it was worthy of the bid with an upset over Clemson and a victory over Siena put them in the final 16 teams in the tournament, where they lost to eventual National Champion Kansas.
Coming off of a 22-13 (9-9) record in the 2008 season, Villanova is returning all but one from their entire roster that made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The squad with no seniors, lost 6 of 7 games during a 3-week span in the middle of the season, but came back in form to make the NCAA tournament.
Following the 2008 Season, freshman guard Macolm Grant has transferred to the University of Miami. The team will find one new addition, in 6′11″ freshman center Maurice Sutton from Largo, MD.
National Freshman of the Year
National Coach of the Year
Big East Rookie of the Year
Big East Coach of the Year
|Kansas||L||57-72||Ford Field||Detroit, MI||Regional Semifinals|
|Siena||W||84-72||St. Pete Times Forum||Tampa, FL||Second Round|
|Clemson||W||75-69||St. Pete Times Forum||Tampa, FL||First Round|
|Kentucky||L||58-67||United Center||Chicago, IL||First Round|
|Monmouth||W||58-45||Wachovia Center||Philadelphia, PA||First Round|
|Arizona||W||82-78||Wachovia Center||Philadelphia, PA||Second Round|
|Boston College||W||60-59 (OT)||Metrodome||Minneapolis, MN||Regional Semifinals|
|Florida||L||62-75||Metrodome||Minneapolis, MN||Regional Finals|
|New Mexico||W||55-47||Gaylord Entertainment Center||Nashville, TN||First Round|
|Florida||W||76-65||Gaylord Entertainment Center||Nashville, TN||Second Round|
|North Carolina||L||67-66||Carrier Dome||Syracuse, NY||Regional Semifinals|
|Mississippi||L||70-72||Bradley Center||Milwaukee, WI||First Round|
|Long Island||W||101-91||Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum||Winston-Salem, NC||First Round|
|California||L||68-75||Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum||Winston-Salem, NC||Second Round|
|Portland||W||92-56||Bradley Center||Milwaukee, WI||First Round|
|Louisville||L||64-68||Bradley Center||Milwaukee, WI||Second Round|
|Old Dominion||L||81-89 (3OT)||Pepsi Arena||Albany, NY||First Round|
|Princeton||W||50-48||Carrier Dome||Syracuse, NY||First Round|
|North Carolina||L||69-84||Carrier Dome||Syracuse, NY||Second Round|
|LSU||L||63-70||Thompson-Boling Arena||Knoxville, TN||First Round|
|Arkansas||W||82-74||Riverfront Coliseum||Cincinnati, OH||First Round|
|Illinois||W||66-63||Riverfront Coliseum||Cincinnati, OH||Second Round|
|Kentucky||W||80-74||BJCC||Birmingham, AL||Regional Semifinals|
|Oklahoma||L||59-78||BJCC||Birmingham, AL||Regional Finals|
|Virginia Tech||W||71-62||LSU Assembly Center||Baton Rouge, LA||First Round|
|Georgia Tech||L||61-66||LSU Assembly Center||Baton Rouge, LA||Second Round|
|Dayton||W||51-49||University of Dayton Arena||Dayton, OH||First Round|
|Michigan||W||59-55||University of Dayton Arena||Dayton, OH||Second Round|
|Maryland||W||46-43||BJCC||Birmingham, AL||Regional Semifinals|
|North Carolina||W||56-44||BJCC||Birmingham, AL||Regional Finals|
|Memphis State||W||52-45||Rupp Arena||Lexington, KY||National Semifinals|
|Georgetown||W||66-64||Rupp Arena||Lexington, KY||National Championship|
|Marshall||W||84-72||The MECCA||Milwaukee, WI||First Round|
|Illinois||L||56-64||The MECCA||Milwaukee, WI||Second Round|
|Lamar||W||60-56||The Summit||Houston, TX||Second Round|
|Iowa||W||55-54||Kemper Arena||Kansas City, MO||Regional Semifinals|
|Houston||L||71-89||Kemper Arena||Kansas City, MO||Regional Finals|
|Northeastern||W||76-72 (3OT)||Nassau Coliseum||Uniondale, NY||Second Round|
|Memphis State||W||70-66 (OT)||Reynolds Coliseum||Raleigh, NC||Regional Semifinals|
|North Carolina||L||60-70||Reynolds Coliseum||Raleigh, NC||Regional Finals|
|Houston||W||90-72||Charlotte Coliseum||Charlotte, NC||First Round|
|Virginia||L||50-54||Charlotte Coliseum||Charlotte, NC||Second Round|
|Marquette||W||77-59||Providence Civic Center||Providence, RI||First Round|
|Syracuse||L||83-97||Providence Civic Center||Providence, RI||Second Round|
|La Salle||W||103-97||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||First Round|
|Indiana||W||61-60||Providence Civic Center||Providence, RI||Regional Semifinals|
|Duke||L||72-90||Providence Civic Center||Providence, RI||Regional Finals|
|East Carolina||W||85-70||Jadwin Gymnasium||Princeton, NJ||First Round|
|Pennsylvania||L||67-78||WVU Coliseum||Morgantown, WV||Regional Semifinals|
|South Carolina||L||78-90||WVU Coliseum||Morgantown, WV||Consolation|
|St. Joseph's (PA)||W||93-75||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||First Round|
|Fordham||W||85-75||Reynolds Coliseum||Raleigh, NC||Regional Semifinals|
|Pennsylvania||W||90-47||Reynolds Coliseum||Raleigh, NC||Regional Finals|
|Western Kentucky||W||92-89||Astrodome||Houston, TX||National Semifinals|
|UCLA||L||62-68||Astrodome||Houston, TX||National Championship|
|Temple||W||77-69||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||First Round|
|Niagara||W||98-73||Carolina Coliseum||Columbia, SC||Regional Semifinals|
|St. Bonaventure||L||74-94||Carolina Coliseum||Columbia, SC||Regional Finals|
|Davidson||L||61-75||Reynolds Coliseum||Raleigh, NC||First Round|
|West Virginia||W||90-75||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||First Round|
|NYU||W||79-70||Cole Field House||College Park, MD||Regional Semifinals|
|Wake Forest||L||69-79||Cole Field House||College Park, MD||Regional Finals|
|Duke||W||74-73||Madison Square Garden||New York, NY||First Round|
|Canisius||L||71-73||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||Regional Semifinals|
|North Carolina State||L||62-67||Regional Semifinals|
|Kentucky||L||72-85||Madison Square Garden||New York, NY||Regional Finals|
|Yale||W||78-67||Madison Square Garden||New York, NY||Consolation|
|Brown||W||42-30||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||Regional Finals|
|Ohio State||L||36-53||Palestra||Philadelphia, PA||National Semifinals|
2004, final 8.
2003, lost first round.
2002, final 8.
2001, lost first round.
2000, lost second round.
1992, lost first round.
1989, final 8.
1987, lost first round.
1977, third place.
1968, final 8.
1967, lost first round.
1966, third place.
1963, fourth place.
1960, final 8.
1959, lost first round.
|Season||Head Coach||Overall Record||Conf. Record||Postseason|
|1938-39||Alexander Severance||20-5||-||NCAA Final Four|
|1948-49||Alexander Severance||23-4||-||NCAA Final 8|
|1950-51||Alexander Severance||25-7||-||NCAA Final 16|
|1955-56||Alexander Severance||14-12||-||NCAA Final 16|
|1958-59||Alexander Severance||18-7||-||NIT First round|
|1959-60||Alexander Severance||20-6||-||NIT Final 8|
|TOTAL OVERALL RECORD:|
Paul Arizin '50, inducted 1978.
Villanova honors outstanding former players, coaches, and others by retiring their numbers or jerseys. For those honored, a replica jersey is hung in the rafters of the Pavilion. Uniform numbers of retired jerseys remain in circulation, while retired numbers are no longer used. Paul Arizin's #11 is the only retired number. Currently, 18 have been honored with a retired number or jersey, including 13 players, four coaches, and longtime trainer Jake Nevin.
The honorees include:
Al Severance, Coach.
Jack Kraft, Coach.
Rollie Massimino, Coach (1973-92). Jersey retired in 2005.
#1 Jake Nevin, longtime trainer. Jersey retired in 1984.
#11 Paul Arizin (1947-50). Number retired in 1994.
#14 Larry Hennessy
#14 Hubie White (1959-62). Jersey retired in 2001.
#24 Wali Jones (1961-64). Jersey retired in 1995.
#24 Tom Ingelsby (1970-73). Jersey retired in 2006.
#25 Bill Melchionni (1963-66). Jersey retired in 1995.
#30 Kerry Kittles (1992-96). Jersey retired in 1998.
#33 Keith Herron
#42 Chris Ford (1969-72). Jersey retired in 2006.
#45 John Pinone (1979-83). Jersey retired in 1995.
#54 Howard Porter (1968-71). Jersey retired in 1997.
#54 Ed Pinckney (1981-85).
Games Played: Doug West and Gary Massey - 138 games
Rebounds: Howard Porter - 1,325 rebounds
Assists: Kenny Wilson - 627 assists
Steals: Kerry Kittles - 277 steals
Blocks: Jason Lawson - 375 blocks
Points Scored: Kerry Kittles - 2,243 points
The 2006-07 Hoops Mania was most noted for having special guest appearances by G-Unit members 50 Cent and Tony Yayo. The Pavilion was brought to their feet and the crowd erupted as the two rap artists entered.