Xavier basketball has been in the Big East since 2013, but they’ve never beaten rival — and Big East original — Villanova. The two storied basketball programs last met on the last night of 2015 — and Xavier suffered a brutal smackdown. The New Year’s Eve massacre ended with Villanova on top 95-64.
At the time Xavier was ranked No. 6 in the country and Villanova was No. 16. Villanova was soon No. 1. But Xavier vowed 2016 would be different. And in the rivalry’s renewal on Wednesday, February 25, No. 5 Xavier whipped the No. 1 Wildcats 90-82. With these two Big East powers entering the NCAA tournament, the potential for two Final Four berths coming out of the conference reminds fans of the Big East’s Golden Years. In 1985, three of the Final Four teams — Georgetown, St. John’s and Villanova (the eventual champion) were Big East beasts.