When I reflect on Villanova’s second Men’s Basketball NCAA National Championship in three seasons, one word keeps coming to mind—unitas. As an Augustinian university, it’s one of our core values and, thus, central to our identity.
As I have realized since becoming president, few events or moments unite our University community quite like Men’s Basketball.
Thousands of Villanovans from around the country traveled from Pittsburgh to Boston and on to San Antonio. It was wonderful to witness you coming together from near and far to cheer this team to victory and to celebrate Easter Sunday Mass with more than 3,300 fellow Villanovans.
The unfailing support and enthusiasm of the Nova Nation definitely played a part in the team's success this season, and all of us share in this exciting accomplishment.
To Coach Wright, his staff and a wonderful group of young men, congratulations on an incredible season. It was an unforgettable run that Villanovans, and countless others, won’t soon forget. I especially thank you for representing Villanova so admirably throughout the tournament—both on and off the court. As student-athletes, you are great ambassadors for the University, both on and off the court. Your humility, teamwork and commitment to academics were often discussed and lauded, and made everyone in the Nova Nation very proud!
In addition, thank you to the city of Philadelphia for your support. You embraced us at the Wells Fargo Center, lit up the city in blue and hosted us for our third victory parade. We are tremendously grateful.
Thanks to all who played a role in this remarkable journey. Congratulations again to the team—your 2018 National Champions! Go Cats!
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS
National studies are mixed on whether winning a national title in a major sport helps a university, but at Villanova, school officials are thrilled with how the basketball team’s success has played out over the last two years.
It may have been the first Catholic mass that started with a standing ovation for a basketball team. Considering the roll Villanova is on, the Wildcats, on the cusp of their second national championship in three years, better get used to the adulation.
Thousands of fans lined downtown Philadelphia to celebrate another sports championship with a parade, this time for the Villanova Wildcats.
Villanova players flash their fingers in a “V″ symbol to celebrate big wins. For coach Jay Wright, that’s a finger for every national championship ring.
Move over, Sister Jean. And make some room at the Final Four for Father Rob.
Juggernauts are not supposed to look like this, without a superstar, a catchy nickname, a lineup of future N.B.A. All-Stars or the air of intimidation that is palpable even in layup lines. Villanova has none of these things.
Villanova’s dominating performance in the championship game mirrored the power it displayed throughout the whole tournament. As Villanova fans around the country celebrated, newspapers – especially the ones in or near Philadelphia – followed suit.
This was supposed to be a college basketball season with no truly great team, an odd year defined by top-of-the-polls tumult that would leave the NCAA tournament open for the taking. Yet on the first Monday in April there was Villanova, laying waste to both that tired narrative and to Michigan on an elevated court in San Antonio’s Alamodome, with a majestic brand of ball at once modern in its approach and old-school in its mind-set.
The victory caps an absurd five-year run for the Wildcats. Two national championships, four Big East titles, 165 wins, three 1-seeds and five top-two seeds. We haven't seen a run such as this in college basketball in a long, long time.
In Villanova’s world, which now should be the most desired locale in college basketball, the best player on the court can be a redshirt sophomore sixth man nicknamed the Big Ragu.
The Wildcats have become the college basketball’s most surprising juggernaut by recruiting players skilled enough to excel against major-college competition but unpolished and eager enough to stick around.
As impressive as their win over Michigan was in the title game, it was while watching the Wildcats play the Kansas Jayhawks in the semi-finals on Saturday night that I saw something truly extraordinary.