March 11, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - For the third straight season the Wildcat men's basketball team will get out their dancing shoes. Villanova (22-10) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and drew the No. 9 seed in the West Region. The tournament field of 65 teams was announced Sunday evening on CBS. Opposing the Wildcats in their first-round matchup is No. 8 seed Kentucky from the Southeastern Conference. The teams will play on Friday, March 16 with the game time still to be determined.
Villanova is making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, only the fourth time in program history that the Wildcats have reached the tournament in at least three consecutive seasons. Overall, this is the 28th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Villanova, which is 42-27 (.609) all-time in the `Big Dance.' This also marks the third time that the Wildcats have drawn a No. 9 seed. The other two occasions came in 1981 and 1991. Each time Villanova advanced to the second round.
Entering the NCAA Tournament, Villanova carries a 22-10 overall record after going 9-7 during regular season BIG EAST games. The Wildcats rate No. 19 in the RPI, according to espn.com, and all but one of the team's losses have come to teams with at least 20 victories. Villanova defeated two ranked teams during the year and won at least one game in the BIG EAST Tournament for the fourth straight season.
Friday's game against Kentucky will be played in Chicago at the United Center. The second round matchup for the winner of the Villanova-Kentucky game will either be No. 1 seed Kansas or No. 16 seeds Florida A&M or Niagara. Those two teams will meet in Tuesday's play-in game in Dayton, Ohio and the winner will play Kansas on Friday.
NOTES: The NCAA began to seed teems in the tournament in 1979 ... Villanova was a No. 1 seed for the first time in its history last season ... The Wildcats are one of seven BIG EAST teams in the top 50 of the RPI ... Six BIG EAST schools made the field of 65 ... Villanova made a school-record seven straight NCAA appearances between 1980-86 ... The team also made four consecutive appearances between 1969-72 and three straight trips from 1997-99 ... The Wildcats won their only national championship in 1985 ... Villanova was a No. 8 seed that season ... The Wildcats own more wins as an underdog seed (12) in the NCAA Tournament than any other program (UCLA has the next-highest total with 10 low-seed victories) ... Villanova is 1-5 all-time against Kentucky, although the one win did come in the NCAA Tournament ... The Wildcats defeated their namesakes in the Sweet 16 of the 1988 tournament ... Villanova also lost to Kentucky in the first round of the 1949 NCAA Tournament.