Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Last nights thumping of Michigan by Villanova is a culmination of Jay Wright and the Wildcats establishing themselves as one of the new blue bloods of college basketball. If Jay Wright sticks around, it’s likely there are more Final 4’s around the corner for the new Big East flagship program.

Wright and Villanova began drawing criticism as a March flopper following their 2015 loss to NC State in the second round as a 1-seed. That followed a second round loss to eventual champ UConn as a 2-seed in the second round in 2014. Going further back, they lost as 2-seed to St. Mary’s in 2010 after surviving a scare from Robert Morris in the opening tilt. In between, Nova was searching for an identity as Wright and his staff looked to re-establish themselves.

Prior to that, from 2005-09, Nova had great success, making 4 Sweet 16’s and a Final 4 run in 2009. Like many programs before them, sometimes, you get lost in the wilderness for whatever reason. Beginning with the recruitment of Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston, Nova round Nova dudes and the culture established when he originally arrived in Philly was back for Jay Wright and Villanova.

There’s a lesson here. Wright failed to make the tournament his first three years at Villanova. He took slings and arrows as a March failure after great success in a five year period. We lack patience in sports. In college sports, patience is sometimes required. Jay Wright didn’t become a dummy in 2010. Luck and circumstance all played a part as Villanova saw success elude them in March. We’re nearing the end of the decade and along with perhaps Duke, they’ve laid claim to program of the decade. Jay Wright has something only two other current coaches have, multiple national titles. He has more than Tom Izzo or Jim Boeheim. He’s a walking hall of famer.

Whether Villanova can sustain success is yet to be seen. The NBA will be a tempting lure for Jay Wright. UConn won 4 titles in 15 years and became an afterthought almost overnight. Nova loses Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. Omari Spellman probably played himself into guaranteed money this March. They still have Nova dudes coming back but success isn’t guaranteed. Whatever the case, any doubt Villanova or Jay Wright are capable of climbing the mountain again seems silly. Welcome to the land of the blue bloods.

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