There’s Kris Jenkins’ shot, and there’s the 95 points in the Final Four.
Those are just two moments along Villanova’s national championship run that will be etched in the minds of its players, coaches, fans and alumni forever. Along the way, though, there were a few defining moments that all culminated into the 77-74 win over North Carolina in the final game.
Oklahoma routs Villanova, 78-55
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Looking back on this outcome, it’s pretty outrageous to think the Wildcats got run out of the gymnasium by Oklahoma in early December. That loss, which saw Villanova go 4-for-32 from behind the arc, became the season’s biggest teaching moment for head coach Jay Wright. From it, the Wildcats would end up winning 10 of the next 11 games in a refocused effort – one that ultimately got its revenge 117 days later.
Villanova voted the No. 1 team in the nation
February 8th will forever be a monumental day in Villanova history. That was when the Wildcats garnered their first ever regular season No. 1 ranking in both major polls. At that point, Villanova was 20-3 (10-1) and fresh off a win over then-No.11 Providence. The Wildcats remained in that position for three weeks. In a season that saw them win a program best 35 games, Villanova never dropped out of the AP Top 25 poll.
Three straight years as BIG EAST champs
With a 16-2 mark in conference play, Villanova won the BIG EAST for the third consecutive season. That is a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since UCONN did so from 1994 to 1996. In all three years, the Wildcats totaled a record of 48-6. They never dropped more than two games in any of those seasons.
Seton Hall shocks Villanova in Big East final
This one left a sour taste in the mouths of the Villanova players and coaching staff heading into the tournament. Before falling to Seton Hall by two points in the conference championship, Villanova had gone 12-1 since January 31. Sometimes losing right before the postseason is a good thing. At that time it didn’t seem so, but looking back on it, the team – like it did when falling to Oklahoma earlier – responded in big-time fashion.
Arcidiacono becomes longest tenured Wildcat
The contributions Ryan Arcidiacono left on the program are immeasurable. Arguably the most telling stat of his is the amount of time he spent on the floor for Villanova. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Arcidiacono played in his 140th career game to surpass Dante Cunningham’s mark for the most games played at Villanova. He would go on to finish with 144 games under his belt and was a team captain all four years.