Associated Press - Villanova coach Jay Wright took the mic at the Pavilion and made a promise for the hundreds of fans at their on-campus arena.
"This is going to be a special year, I promise," he said.
The Big East champion Wildcats have an unfamiliar seed in the NCAA Tournament -- they failed to score a top-two seed for the first time since 2013. The Wildcats are trying to become the first team to repeat as national champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007.
They have a familiar foe to get past in the first round. The sixth-seeded Wildcats will play No. 11-seed Saint Mary's in the South on Thursday in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Wildcats were the No. 2 seed in 2010 when they were upset by 10th-seeded Saint Mary's in Providence, Rhode Island.
"Probably nobody was around but me," Wright said. "But they're a really intelligent team."
Saint Mary's knocked off Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Tournament final to earn the automatic bid to the NCAAs.