Villanova's national championship win may be the start of college basketball's newest dynasty
When people talk dynasties in sports, the usual suspects get brought up: the 1990's Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics in the NBA; the New York Yankees in MLB; the Steelers, Patriots & 49ers in the NFL.
As silly as this may sound, dynasties are easier to maintain on the professional level than in college. In college, players have four or five years to play and that’s it; they are done. In today’s college basketball landscape, that number shrinks tremendously.
Thanks to the One And Done rule implemented by the NBA, college basketball players are in such a rush to get to the league. So college basketball fans are having to learn new names every year because an influx of freshmen bolt to turn professional. Fans don’t get to see an Anthony Davis or a Kevin Durant or a Kyrie Irving improve year by year and we are all robbed of seeing potentially great teams or dynasties form.
Outside of the great and once-in-a-lifetime UCLA dynasty in the 1960s and 1970s, college basketball has not had a great tradition of sustained championship runs by many programs. Teams today only need consecutive national titles, or two in three years, to be considered a dynasty these days. By that definition, there have been a handful of them in the post-John Wooden era: Duke in 1991 & 1992, Kentucky in 1996 & 1998, and Florida in 2006 & 2007.
Now you can add Villanova to this list afeet destroying Michigan for their second national championship in three years.
Villanova used an eight man rotation for most of the season, and none of them were seniors. Potentially, Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo could leave for the NBA. Bridges will most likely leave for the NBA, and head coach Jay Wright will definitely receive offers at the next level. If Coach Wright returns as expected, and any two of those three players return for the 2018-19 season along with the top recruiting class in the Big East, you’re looking at a team who can easily make a run towards a repeat, and an unprecedented third natty in four seasons.
You may not see why or how this is such a big deal but the traditional thought in college basketball is that you win with some type of experience. Either your team is filled with upperclassmen or you pair a group of talented freshmen with veteran role players and that leads you to a national title or at the least a great season, record wise. Villanova flipped that theory on its head with some of their most impactful players being freshmen or sophomores, the product of the program’s professional level player training. Wright doesn’t recruit the “one and dones”, choosing to go after under the radar guys with good character instead; those that put team first and those that are willing to “wait their turn” like Dante Cunningham, Josh Hart, Brunson and DiVincenzo have all done.
Winning consecutive championships or two out of three puts you in an elite category in college basketball. The pedestal that Villanova would be put on if they won three of the last four national championships would be enormous. No traditional blue blood program could claim that; not Kentucky or Duke or Kansas. April 2, 2018 could have definitely been the start of something dominant that no one saw coming. Unless of course you are a Villanova Wildcat.
There have been no undefeated teams in the history of Division 1 Men’s Basketball since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The 2018-19 Villanova men’s basketball team could be the first and officially solidify themselves as one of the greatest teams ever.