Villanova Wildcats Stats

NCAAB - BIG EAST

Villanova Wildcats Stats

Arena: The Pavilion, Wells Fargo Center
Coach: Jay Wright

2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS

Villanova Wildcats

Villanova Wildcats Summary

Villanova coach Jay Wright transformed the history of Villanova once he arrived on campus in 2001. Since building the Wildcats into the Big East’s most consistent winner, there are few versions of Villanova that don’t start and end the season in the top 25. The 2021-22 season is proving to be no different for the Wildcats.

Villanova is off to a 13-4 start and has collected victories over Tennessee, Syracuse, and a season sweep of Xavier. The Wildcats also took a highly-ranked UCLA team to overtime early in the season. Villanova is on track to make its ninth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats got a boost when 6-foot-3 senior guard Collin Gillespie decided to take advantage of an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic and return for a fifth season. Villanova also had 6-foot-7 forward Jermaine Samuels return.

Villanova Wildcats History

Villanova started playing basketball in the 1920-21 season and has been a feisty entry into a Philadelphia market saturated with basketball teams. However, the Wildcats have stood out from their counterparts by compiling 1,817 wins and .657 winning percentage. Villanova has been a consistent winner during its history, reaching its first Final Four in 1939.

The Wildcats have appeared in 40 NCAA Tournaments and have qualified for the NIT 14 times. Villanova played an independent schedule in basketball until the 1976-77 season when it joined the Eastern 8, which is now known as the Atlantic 10. Many teams from the Eastern 8 — Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Rutgers — would later join the Wildcats in the Big East. Villanova, however, was part of the inaugural Big East season in 1979-80.

2022 Key Stats

Gillespie, a national player of the year candidate, has been Villanova’s leader this season. Gillespie leads the team by averaging 17. 1 points and 3.3 assists per game. Gillespie also leads the team with 55 made 3-pointers and shoots 41 percent from the perimeter. Justin Moore (15.8 points per game) and Samuels (10.3) also average in double figures for the Wildcats.

Villanova is the no. 2 team in the country in free-throw percentage, making 81.5 percent of its attempts. Otherwise, the Wildcats’ offense isn’t the fastest-paced or most efficient group. Villanova scores 73.1 points per game and shoots 43.5 percent from the field. Villanova also makes 36.2 percent of its 3-point percentage.

Defensively has been where the Wildcats have shined. Villanova limits its opponents to 60.4 points per game, which is the 23rd-best mark in the country. Opponents have also been limited to 39.8 percent shooting from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Championships Won by the Team

Villanova has put together several championship teams since joining the Big East in 1979. Three times — in 1985, 2016, and 2018 — the Wildcats brought home NCAA titles. In 1994, Villanova won the NIT title. The Wildcats won the first Big East Tournament title in 1980 and have six total titles to their name.

Villanova won one Eastern 8 Conference title in 1978. In addition to the three seasons where the Wildcats won the title, Villanova also reached the Final Four in 1939, 1971, and 2009. The Wildcats’ trip to the 1971 NCAA final was vacated because Howard Porter, who was named the tournament’s MVP, had signed a contract with the ABA’s Pittsburgh Condors.

Important Team Events

Villanova’s long history of success had resulted in one appearance in the NCAA finals before coach Rollie Massimino and the 1984-85 Wildcats came bursting through the door. Villanova, which finished the regular season with a 19-10 record, likely only made the tournament because the NCAA had expanded the tournament to 64 teams for the first time ever. Can you picture that happening in the March Madness?

Villanova didn’t waste its opportunity. The Wildcats survived a series of close, low-scoring wins during the first three rounds, toppling Dayton (51-49), Michigan (59-55), and Maryland (46-43). Villanova then stunned North Carolina and Memphis to reach the title game against Georgetown.

Despite losing both regular-season meetings, Villanova found the recipe to upset its long-time rivals. The Wildcats shot 78 percent (22 of 27) from the field and outscored Georgetown by one point in each half to escape with a two-point victory.

Top Players

Paul Arizin didn’t play basketball in high school. The 6-foot-4 Villanova standout would be discovered by coach Al Severance while playing in a CYO basketball game in Philadelphia. After Arizin made the Villanova team as a sophomore, he parlayed the opportunity into a long basketball career.

By the time Arizin graduated in 1950, he was leading the NCAA in scoring by averaging 25.3 points per game. He also once scored 100 points in a game, but the game isn’t recognized because it was against a junior college. Once in the pros, Arizin starred for the Philadelphia Warriors for 12 seasons.

Arizin helped the Warriors win the 1956 championship and was named to the NBA’s All-Star team 10 times. When Arizin retired as a professional, he was the third-highest scoring player in league history, having finished his career with 16,266 points.

Top Coaches

Massimino stacked up 355 victories with Villanova, while Severance collected 413. While these two coaches are highly respected, it is hard to emphasize how much Wright coming to Villanova has changed the fortunes of the program. Wright has collected 503 wins, reached three Final Fours, and won the Big East Tournament Four times.

More importantly, Wright has kept Villanova competitive during major realignment in college basketball. Many of the larger schools with football bolted the conference to stay relevant on the gridiron. However, Villanova and the other smaller schools stayed. Wright kept the train on the tracks and has helped the Wildcats be successful and prevent the Big East from being seen as a mid-major product.

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