Villanova wants to leave the past behind and move forward. Exactly how far ahead — for the school that still holds the distinction of being the lowest seed to win it all (No. 8, 1985) — may be another story.

Jay Wright’s Wildcats, the first team to lose its last five games and still be named to the field as a No. 9 seed, don’t seem to mind. Not even the prospects of a potential, second-round matchup against No. 1 Ohio State (presuming they can knock off No. 8 seed George Mason) can spoil this.

“The five-game losing streak is over,’’ said ’Nova’s leading scorer Corey Fisher. “It’s onto the next game.”

Wright said there was little doubt there would be a next game for Villanova (21-11), which has been plagued by injuries and shooting woes down the stretch, after starting off 16-1. Still, the team elected to watch yesterday’s selection show privately.

“We’re thrilled, but we have a tough first opponent,” said Wright, who recalled having all kinds of matchup problems in an 84-76 win over the Patriots in 2007. “We just have to get back to our midseason form. We have a different perspective. Going in as a high seed, there’s high expectations. Now, we’re in kind of an underdog role. It’s almost like we have to prove ourselves.”