When watching college basketball, you likely know that the North Carolina Tar Heels are located in, well, North Carolina. Or that the Michigan Wolverines are from Michigan.
But what about the Villanova Wildcats?
Villanova University isn’t named after a specific state or even a large city like the University of Houston. So, if you don’t follow the Wildcats’ NCAA teams too closely, you may not know the school’s location.
Fear not, though; we have the answer for you.
Villanova is a Philadelphia suburb
No, Villanova University isn’t named Philadelphia University, but it’s essentially located in the city. Villanova, Pennsylvania, is a suburb of Philly and is just 12 miles west of the Center City District.
It’s also about four miles from Lower Merion High School, where the great Kobe Bryant played basketball as a teenager.
Despite Philadelphia being the sixth-largest city in the country, Villanova’s enrollment is pretty small. Only 11,000 undergraduate, graduate, and law students attend the school.
For reference, The Ohio State University, one of Villanova’s opponents during the 2022 Men’s NCAA Tournament, has over 61,000 students. The University of Michigan, Villanova’s Sweet 16 opponent, has more than 50,000.
The school may be a small private university. But it knows how to find success on the hardwood.
Villanova’s 2021-22 men’s basketball team is one of the best in the country
A basketball team doesn’t need 60,000 people. It technically just needs five (although a few more would help), and Villanova has one of the best groups in the country.
The Wildcats went a combined 26-7 through the regular season and Big East Tournament, and they won their conference championship with a win over Creighton.
Collin Gillespie is easily Villanova’s most important player. He has been on the team since 2017-18, the last time it won a national championship, and has become one of the best shooters in the country. He’s averaging 16.0 points and shooting 41.6% from the three-point range this year.
The Wildcats, though, have several other stars who have helped lead them to their success. Junior guard Justin Moore is second on the team in scoring with 15.0 points per game, and he pulls down 4.9 rebounds per night. Jermaine Samuels is also an important piece down low and has been with the program since 2017-18. He averages 10.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Villanova has had all its success this season due to great players and leaders like Gillespie, Moore, and Samuels. But the program wouldn’t be in its current state without its head coach, Jay Wright.
The Wildcats have had tremendous success under head coach Jay Wright
Villanova basketball has a long history of success. It reached its first Final Four in 1939 before making it to the national championship in 1971. The Wildcats then won their first-ever national title with Rollie Massimino as head coach in 1985.
However, ever since Jay Wright became the lead man in 2001, the program has been as dominant as they come.
It is now a college basketball powerhouse.
With Wright, Villanova has reached the NCAA Tournament 16 times and the Finals Four three times. It won a title with him in 2016 before winning its second under Wright in 2018.
“It’s easy to play for a guy that you feel truly cares about you and wants what’s best for you,” former Villanova player Kris Jenkins said to Sportscasting in March 2022. “And sometimes he may get on you and push you and be edgy, but that’s kind of what you want from a coach or someone that’s supposed to help you.”
Villanova isn’t just a small school in a suburb of Philadelphia. It has become one of the best college basketball programs in the country, and the Wildcats don’t look like they are slowing down any time soon.