It has been a decade to remember for Villanova Wildcats fans, with a pair of men's basketball NCAA Tournament national titles and three Final Four appearances.
The Wildcats look to continue the sustained success they had under former coach Jay Wright, who retired during the offseason, under Kyle Neptune.
But Pennsylvania betting sites are taking a “wait and see” approach to Year 1 of the Neptune era, with the Wildcats listed at +5000 to win it all in 2023.
There is certainly a high bar for the first-year coach to live up to. Wright won 72.5% of his games and captured the program’s first title in 31 years during the 2016 season, then won another title two years later.
Neptune steps in after spending last year coaching Fordham of the Atlantic 10 Conference to a 16-16 record. He previously served as an assistant under Wright from 2013 to 2021 and returns with a team chock full of talented players.
Overall, BetMGM Sportsbook PA ranks Villanova alongside programs like Oregon, Auburn, Michigan State, Illinois, Virginia and TCU when it comes to championship odds.
Measuring Up to the Elite
The Wildcats were among six college basketball programs with enough recent success to be dubbed a “blue blood” program.
Using 2012 as a starting point, PennStakes.com looked at various categories of college basketball success to determine a threshold a program must reach to be considered for elite status.
Points were awarded to each program in the following areas: Championship wins (10 per title), championship appearances (5 per appearance), Final Four appearances (4 per appearance), NCAA Tournament appearances (1 per appearance) and Top 25 recruiting classes (1 for each).
A program needed 35 points over the span of 2012 to 2022 to be considered a college basketball blue blood.
College Basketball’s Current Breed of Elite
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How Villanova Made the Cut as a ‘Blue Blood’
The Wildcats have been one of the most consistent programs over the course of the past decade, with nine NCAA Tournament berths, three Final Fours, and two NCAA championships won during that period.
By our scoring metrics, the Wildcats ranked second with 55 points, notching 20 points for its two NCAA titles, 12 points for the three Final Four appearances, 10 points for its two title game appearances, and 13 points combined for its NCAA berths (nine) and top 25 recruiting classes (four).
Ultimately, Villanova finished second behind North Carolina, which scored 57 points. The Wildcats ranked ahead of basketball royalty Kansas (53 points), Kentucky (51 points), Duke (42 points), and Louisville (36 points) on our list.
The biggest boon for Villanova was its pair of titles, which is the most over the past decade nationally, while the school’s two title game berths rank in a tie with Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan for the second in the nation (behind UNC’s three) over that timeframe.
Whether Neptune can carry the torch Wright passed on remains to be seen, though we’ll know more about the Wildcats’ chances once they tip off the season against city rivals La Salle and Temple on Nov. 7 and Nov. 11, respectively.
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