Villanova is the best program in college basketball right now.
After winning its second championship in three years with ease Monday night against Michigan, Villanova established itself as a new blue blood in the sport.
In fact, Villanova Coach Jay Wright is operating at a level unheard of in modern college basketball. The Wildcats have not lost more than five games in a season since they went 20-14 in 2013. In the past five seasons, Villanova has averaged just over 33 victories per season and have a record of 13-1 in the past three NCAA Tournaments.
Villanova just doesn't lose.
Wright’s not winning with highly-ranked recruiting classes full of one-and-done sensations. His teams aren’t made up of talents such as Marvin Bagley, Jayson Tatum, Lonzo Ball, Karl Anthony-Towns or other dominant players. He’s winning with players he’s nurtured and developed over the course of multiple years in his system. Many of the key players for the Wildcats have redshirted and used that time to develop.
His model is sustainable as is his track record of developing talent. While he’s not landing top recruiting classes, it is not like he’s winning with mid-major talent. Villanova is situated in fertile recruiting territory, and the Big East is an attractive brand. Many players will go on to have careers in the NBA, but Wright isn’t producing top picks.
Yet, his offenses are some of the best in the nation.
Finishing with the most efficient offense this season per KenPom Villanova’s offenses have ranked within the top-four in that category for the past four seasons. It’s been an evolution for Wright and Villanova, but since the Wildcats evolved into an elite offense, championships have followed.
Wright has built a dynasty in the one-and-done era, something Duke and Kentucky have been unable to do. Both programs routinely battle each other for the best recruiting class every season, but the championships have not materialized.
This is not saying that winning with freshmen is impossible, but sustaining it at the level of Wright takes a delicate mix of talent and experience. Winning his second championship, Wright joins an elite class of coaches, and it shows how good of a coach he is.
While there are many strong programs in college basketball right now, Villanova looks like it’s just going to keep going for years to come.
However, as Wright has ascended into the pantheon of elite coaches, the NBA will come calling, and this is the only thing that can keep his dynasty from going on for a decade. He will have a difficult decision to make as his coaching and scheme would likely translate seamlessly to the NBA. His scheme isn’t complicated, but it is deadly efficient both playing through the post and on the perimeter.
This is what happens to all elite coaches. The NBA beckons, but if Wright resists that urge, he could be on the brink of a dynasty unseen in college basketball in many decades.
Two titles down. With one more, Wright can put himself in a completely different conversation.
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