A close rivalry game turned into a blowout in a hurry, and now Villanova is the owner of a 17-game winning streak, which is the longest in college basketball and the longest in program history.
VU played host to Temple on Tuesday night and got a 78-57 victory to improve to 11-0. That No. 1 ranking is likely to stick to Villanova past Christmas and into 2017.
When you consider the streak, it’s really impressive and somewhat surprising at the same time. On a year-by-year basis, only a small handful of teams put together winning streaks 17 games or longer. The fact Villanova has never done it speaks more to its Big East allegiance than anything, but still, this is one of the great programs in the past 35 years in college basketball — among the top 25, without question — and now it’s finally hitting memorable marks of consistency.
Villanova was never a fluke, but for any of the doubters (how could they even exist?), it’s now time to shut up indefinitely. Jay Wright has the reigning national champions rolling, and not just rolling, but winning with style and composure. No one would have faulted Villanova for failing to get to 2-0, let alone 11-0. That road victory at Purdue on Nov. 14 continues to look better, and it was tough to nail.
It’s a great thing for college hoops to have a reigning champ bring back so much from a national title-winning team, and in the process display a player of the year candidate. Josh Hart is more than a candidate right now. He’s at the head of the table.
Hart had a game-high 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting against Temple. He’ll be in the top five of the discussion all season. Villanova is too good, and so is he, to think otherwise.
Villanova has also won 18 consecutive Big 5 games against the marquee Philly schools (Temple, La Salle, Penn and Saint Joseph’s). That means this Villanova class of seniors (Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds) is the first VU class to ever sweep Big 5 opponents for their college careers.
Last season was a turning point for Villanova. This season is proving that this program has the coaching and pedigree to be a top-line team from start to end. It’s too soon to suggest a repeat, but everyone in college hoops has to be thinking about it at this point.