Record: 34-5. 34 wins is a single-season record for Villanova.
Head Coach: Jay Wright
Wright has no shortage of accolades in his 15 seasons at Villanova. A record five Big East Coach of the Year awards (2006, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016) and two Naismith Coach of the Year awards (2006, 2016) to go along with his two Final Four appearances (2009, 2016). Wright built Villanova back up to where Rollie Massimino had it in the 1980s.
This is Wright's first National Championship Game appearing, going up against Roy Williams who has been to this stage five times now.
How They Got Here: By winning their past five games, duh. But to go deeper into it, most Villanova games haven't even been close. They took care of business against UNC-Asheville, 86-56. Then they advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating Iowa, 87-56. Villanova's first Sweet 16 game since 2009 saw them defeat Miami, 92-69. Villanova's one close game in the NCAA tournament thus far came next, as they defeated Kansas, 64-59 to advance to the Final Four. After waiting six years to get back to the Final Four, Jay Wright was rewarded with a 44 point victory, the biggest in Final Four history, over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Ryan Arcidiacono
SG: Jalen Brunson
SF: Josh Hart
PF: Kris Jenkins
C: Daniel Ochefu
The High-Profile Acts
Ryan Arcidiacono: It's hard to think of a more fitting send-off for Villanova's senior point guard than a shot at the national championship. In his four years in a Wildcats uniform, Arcidiacano has been awarded co-Big East Player of the Year honors, elected to an All-Big East roster twice and made straight trips to the NCAA tournament, and he saved his best basketball for last. Over the course of the team's five tourney games leading to tonight's contest, Arch has averaged 15.8 points and 3.2 assists, shooting a dominant 60 percent from behind the three-point line. Josh Hart may be the team's marquee offensive player, but make no mistake, Arcidiacano is the engine that drives this Wildcats roster.
Josh Hart: The term "gamer" comes to mind when Hart hits the floor. The Maryland native is the ‘Cats leading scorer and best on-ball defender. In addition to his skills with the rock, Hart is one of the best rebounding guards in the country. What he lacks in athleticism, the junior makes up for in attitude and IQ. All season Hart has proven to be the go-to guy for Jay Wright's Wildcats. Expect that to continue on Monday night in the biggest game of his career.
Kris Jenkins: Arcidiacano and Hart may be the biggest names on the Villanova roster, but Jenkins is anything but your typical "third banana". He's scored in double digits in every game since the team's Feb. 17 contest with Temple, and if you saw the ‘Cats take on Miami (FL) and Oklahoma this month, then you know just how big of an impact the junior forward makes on the boards even against bigger teams. In one of the championship game's most interesting subplots, Jenkins will also face off with his adoptive brother and UNC guard Nate Britt, adding even more intrigue to what should already be a really entertaining season finale.
Daniel Ochefu: The man they call "Chef" has his work cut out for him against the Tar Heels. The senior will go head-to-head with UNC's talented front court duo of Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson in what will surely be a heated battle on the boards. Ochefu's offensive game has come around nicely in four years under Wright's tutelage. His points per game improved each season as he's developed a tidy back to the basket game. If Ochefu manages to notch his eighth double-double of the season in the final, the ‘Cats will be in a good position to lift their second national championship trophy.
Jalen Brunson: Brunson is the most skilled player Jay Wright has had at his disposal since ‘Nova was led by now All-Star NBA point guard Kyle Lowry. In fact, the two have very similar games. The freshman is a plus athlete who knows how to use his body to clear out space and initiate contact. Brunson's shooting from deep has trended upward all year as he's become an important cog in the most efficient offense in the nation.
Phil Booth: Booth has a real chance to be an x-factor for in ‘Cats quest for a national title. The sweet-shooting sophomore can light it up from deep and his presence off the bench has been a huge asset for Wright and his team this season. With Arcidiacono moving on, Booth very well may find himself in the starting five for ‘Nova next season. A breakout performance on Monday will go a long way to help him in that quest.