The Wright Stuff for Villanova

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When you're talking about coaches in the college basketball ranks in recent history, there are plenty of names that spring to mind right off the bat… Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams… the list could go on and on.

But of those coaches that I just listed that are still around today, the only one that can say that he has led his team to Sweet Sixteen appearances in at least four of the L/5 years in Roy Williams, and it's becoming clearer and clearer by the day that the only Sweet Sixteen that his team may be going to this year is that of the NIT.

However, let's stop for a second and take a look at what Villanova HC Jay Wright has done with his Wildcats over the L/5 years…

2008-0930-8Final Four
2007-0822-13Sweet Sixteen
2006-0722-12First Round
2005-0628-5Elite Eight
2004-0524-8Sweet Sixteen

All things told, since Wright stepped foot on the campus in the City of Brotherly Love, he has emerged as one of the top young coaches in the nation and has turned down dream job offers from teams like Kentcuky as well as Philly's own 76ers. He's amassed 199 wins in his nine seasons at the helm at Villanova and has shown no signs of slowing down. 

Recruiting became a huge base for Wright's success and it seems he has a complete plan for success in the griddy Big East conference. He has brought some fantastic names to the Wildcat program, most notably players like Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, Curtis Sumpter, Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher, Dante Cunningham, and now, perhaps the best of them all, Scottie Reynolds.  Not only does Wright recruit 4 & 5-star players as well as McDonald's All-Americans, but he seems to get guys that stick around.  Maybe that is the result of going after mosly quick and athetic guards over the bigger front-court high-schhol players. 

When Wright reached Villanova, his program was a mere mediocre team in a very powerful conference. That conference only got better throughout the years when it pillaged Conference USA and brought in even more powerful basketball schools just two years later. Yet Wright has kept it together, posting just one year that finished below .500 overall. He has posted five straight seasons at .500 or better in Big East play and may have Villanova on its way to its second regular season Big East title in during his tenure this season.

Wright's clubs are known for offensive tenacity. This year, his crop of guards may be the best in the entire country, and they're not shy about slashing to the hoop and making space for themselves. This has been a Jay Wright staple for years, as just like he has never backed down from a challenge, he never accepts anything but the hardest out of his team.

Last season, arguably the greatest in the history of the Villanova program was just the beginning for Wright and the Wildcats. Nova won 30 games, 13 of which came in Big East play, and it went all the way to the Final Four, where it was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by eventual National Champions, North Carolina. The world was introduced to how good this team was at that point.

Now, entering this week as the #5 team in the country, Wright has his men thinking about a #1 seed in the field of 65 and yet another Sweet 16 run. With the rising level of success that he has had through the years, there is nothing to believe that this won't be the year that Jay Wright's name gets put in amongst all of the other great names that you think of when you're discussing the college basketball coaching greats.


Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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