Is Villanova’s Dominance Bad for College Basketball?
The Wildcats are too good, and have made the game boring and unwatchable.
24. 24. 19. 10. 26. 23. 12. 12. 16. 17.
Those are the margins of victory over the last 10 games for the Villanova Wildcats. Those 10 games encompass a matchup with traditional archrival and storied program Georgetown, followed by a march through the Big East and NCAA tournaments that would make William T. Sherman blush. The run ended not because the Wildcats finally found a team that could challenge them, but simply because they ran out of opponents. It ended, predictably, with Villanova capturing another national championship.
Some may applaud Jay Wright and his program for the high level they at which they execute on the floor. Some may find pleasure in the elite level of ball movement and shot-making that allowed the ‘Cats to shatter records this season and leave the rest of the field in the dust. Some may even view it as commendable that the Main Line school won without the top-level recruits that also-rans like UNC and Michigan State have.
But not I. I will stand up and say what no one else will: Villanova is too good, and it’s bad for college basketball.
The Villanova Wildcats have won two thirds of the titles over the last three years, leaving nothing but scraps for the hundreds of other schools struggling to reach their level. Going back even further, all the way to 2012, no school in the entire world has more NCAA Men’s Basketball championships than the Villanova Wildcats. The tournament long heralded for its unpredictability and chaos has been brought to order.
It’s unfair to schools in the Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC, forced to inefficiently spend millions of dollars on middling football programs while their basketball teams are left in squalor. With only an FCS football team to share their campus with, Villanova unsportingly avoids this problem.
It’s unfair to the blue bloods like Kansas and Duke that must fight over the same small pool of McDonalds All-Americans every year. Villanova again opts out of this, instead choosing to get five-star production out of less heralded players. When Wright and his staff can take a recruit ranked in the 80s like Mikal Bridges and turn him into one of the best players in the nation, what chance to underdogs like Kentucky really have?
But mostly, its unfair to you, the viewer. No end is in sight for Villanova’s tyrannical reign over college basketball. Though they may lose key contributors like guard Jalen Brunson and the aforementioned Bridges, the rest of the rotation just gets a year better, with the Next Great Villanova Guard also arriving on campus soon in Jahvon Quinerly. He’ll be accompanied by two other players who will no doubt only help tighten the grip the Wildcats have on that trophy. The future of college basketball is all but written. The magic of the tournament is banished. There will no longer be any Cinderella runs from underdog, no-name schools like Virginia or UCLA. Until the powers that be at Villanova decide to take pity on the rest of the nation, college basketball will continue to only get more boring and predictable, and we will all continue to suffer for it.
Villanova is too good, it’s unfair, and they must be stopped.