Sunday, June 4 2023

The 1985 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, was the first year a 64-team field was introduced. It was an experiment for the league and many thought it was going to ruin the tournament by watering down the product in the beginning rounds. However, this method has proved to be successful over time and even in it’s first year a “Cinderella story” happened. Villanova’s basketball team in 1985 made the national championship as an eight-seed and took down the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas. 

To this day the Wildcats of ’85 are still the highest seed to ever win the national championship. Their 66-64 win vs Georgetown is still considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Head coach Rollie Massimino lead his squad to a win that day as ‘Nova finished the regular season with a 19-10 record.

Next, we’ll take a look back at the road the 1985 Villanova Wildcats had on their way to win the national championship.

Looking back at the incredible run by the 1985 Villanova Wildcats

In the regular season the Wildcats lost to the nation’s #1 and #2 ranked teams at the time and they were battle tested early on. ‘Nova were put in the Southeast Region for the tournament and they had a tough road ahead of them. The first-round saw them escape the University of Dayton with a two-point victory. That game just so happened to be played in Dayton as well.

Their next opponent in the second-round was the Region’s top-seeded Michigan Wolverines. Villanova won by four points vs Michigan and made it to the second weekend of the tournament. They traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the Regional Semi-Finals.

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Wins vs Maryland and North Carolina got the ‘Cats all the way to the final four. Next, they traveled to Lexington, Kentucky to face Memphis State. ‘Nova saw their largest win of the tournament with a 52-45 victory and they were set for a Big East showdown in the National Championship vs Georgetown.

They Hoyas were the heavy favorites in this matchup, but the Wildcats were not going down without a fight. Villanova played what many consider to be a “perfect game” as the team shot (.786) for the entire game going 22-29, and 9-10 in the second-half.

Six players from the championship team went on to get drafted in the ’85, ’86, and ’87 NBA drafts. Their win vs Georgetown is still talked about to this day and it’s one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Source: Basketball Insider


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