By Annie Ross
Villanova is preparing to play North Carolina-Asheville today in Brooklyn, and the Wildcats have a monkey on their back.
During the past three regular seasons, the Cats have a 91–13 record, captured three straight regular-season Big East titles and earned two No. 2 seeds and a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament.
But the perception following the 29-5 Wildcats is one of perennial disappointment. Villanova flopped hard the past two tournaments, losing to No. 7 Connecticut in 2014 and No. 8 North Carolina State last year. Both of those losses came during the Round of 32, the failures stigmatizing the program. “We get it,” Wright said. “We all know college basketball. That’s how your program gets defined.”
Villanova enters this NCAA tournament cast as the quintessential boom-or-bust team. They are talented enough for a Final Four run, yet flawed enough to meet the same fate of the past two seasons. Choosing wisely on the Wildcats may hold the key to thousands of brackets.