Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Villanova Big East Tournament History - Part 3

To the Wildcat faithful-

Here is Part 3 of the
Villanova Big East Tournament History... and here are the links to Part 1...and Part 2...

Keep checking back for frequent, new installments, as this week, I chronicle all 28 Big East tournaments in which Villanova has participated... and there will be a preview of fourth-seeded Villanova's Thursday afternoon quarterfinal game against either #5 Marquette or #13 St. John's, the latter defeating Georgetown today.... The Golden Eagles clash with the Red Storm at 2 PM or so on Wednesday...

Part 3 - 1988-90 - An Elite Eight Appearance Amidst Continued Futility Against Syracuse in New York...


The Wildcats rebounded strongly from the disappointments of the preceding year. They finished the Big East slate with a 9-7 mark, enough for a third-place tie and another #4 seed. They defeated #5 St. John’s in the quarterfinals (their first-ever win over St. John’s in the tournament), and narrowly ousted Pittsburgh, 72-69, in the semifinals. Villanova had reached the Big East tournament final in its initial appearances in 1981 and 1982. But this was the first time they had reached it in the ensuing six years.

However – for the second straight year, they fell to the Orangemen, this time in a blowout, 85-68. It was a banner year, though, even in Villanova’s illustrious history; they made a great run in the NCAA tournament, reaching the Elite Eight. (Unbeknownst at the time, of course, was that it would be Villanova’s final trip to the Sweet 16 or beyond until 2005, 17 years later.)

Doug West and Mark Plansky were named to the All-Tournament team.


This was another rebuilding year, with parallels to 1987. As they had two years earlier, the Wildcats finished with just their second losing record in conference play. Their 7-9 mark was good enough for only a fifth seed; facing #4 Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals, they lost 71-66, again (as in 1987), only their second quarterfinal exit, as well as another NIT bid.

Unlike 1987, however, they had a nice run in the NIT, beating St. John’s and Penn State, before losing to Michigan State.


Villanova went 8-8 in the Big East, finishing in a fifth-place tie and receiving another #5 seed. They finally beat #4 St. John’s in the Big East tournament, 70-60, but they faced their old March nemesis – Syracuse – again. In the semifinals, Jim Boeheim’s team beat Villanova 73-61, making them 5-0 against ‘Nova. Let’s put it this way: of the ten Big East tournaments in which Villanova had participated, they had been eliminated by Syracuse in half of them. Tom Greis was named to the All-Tournament team.

The Wildcats returned to the NCAA tournament, losing to LSU in the first round.

Part 4 - 1990-92 - The End of the Rollie Era,
coming up soon...

Go Wildcats!

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