Villanova's title proves it is the best team -- and program -- in all of college basketball

SAN ANTONIO -- Phil Booth laughed about it on Sunday when the topic was brought up.

When he arrived at Villanova four years ago, the knock on the Wildcats was that they couldn't win in March. They had been sent home the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in five straight appearances, despite earning a top-two seed in three of those five tourney trips.

"Just how the tournament works, you know?" Booth told ESPN.

After Monday night, the narrative is much different: Villanova is the best program in college basketball.

Villanova won its second national championship in three years on Monday, dominating Michigan for most of the final 30 minutes en route to a 79-62 victory.

"I don't think they were saying that when I first got to Nova," Booth said Sunday of the possibility of being considered the best program in the country. "To have that being [said] is something really cool to hear."

Monday's game capped a quietly dominant season from Villanova. The Wildcats haven't had a single-digit margin of victory since February. They are the fourth team to win all of its NCAA tournament games by double digits. They lost just four times all season and never by more than eight points.

The victory also caps an absurd five-year run for the Wildcats. Two national championships, four Big East titles, 165 wins, three 1-seeds and five top-two seeds. We haven't seen a run such as this in college basketball in a long, long time.

It's now solidified: No other program has had this sort of success over the past several years.

"If they don't say that, they're dumb -- point-blank," former star Josh Hart said. "If you don't give Villanova the respect it deserves now -- it's a blue blood program. If you don't think this is one of the best five-year runs in modern NCAA [history], it's crazy."

"Two titles in the last three years speaks for itself," former Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono said. "We should be mentioned up there."

Jay Wright told ESPN earlier this season that he never talks about wins and losses within the program. But maybe after this run is over, he'll have some fun with it.

"If when we're done, and somebody says, 'Hey, there was a run, where you ...' I'll be like, 'That was really cool. That was really cool.'"

Monday night had all the staples of a classic Villanova win. Nothing takes the Wildcats out of what they want to do.

They started off slowly, with Michigan coming out ready for a fight and taking it to Villanova from the opening tip. It didn't matter. A 30-9 run that spanned parts of both halves essentially buried Michigan.

The Wildcats' 3-pointers weren't falling early. It didn't matter. As they've shown more and more the past few years, they're not as "live by the 3, die by the 3" as they once were. They got to the rim, got to the free throw line and got baskets in transition.

Jalen Brunson struggled after scoring Villanova's first four points. It didn't matter. Donte DiVincenzo had one of the most impressive performances of the NCAA tournament, coming off the bench to score 31 points, including 18 in the first half when Villanova couldn't get anything going offensively. Likely lottery pick Mikal Bridges found his shot in the second half, making multiple 3-pointers late in the game to sustain Villanova's run.

It was three of the oft-repeated mantras of Wright's program playing out in real time: Attitude. Together. Villanova basketball for 40 minutes.

"It's our culture. I always go back to our culture," former Villanova forward Kris Jenkins said after the game. "There's so many great programs, so many great coaches, but I think our culture is what sets us apart."

The team that doesn't rattle -- ever -- showed some emotion and turned what was a tight, physical game into a blowout.

The stoic Villanova Wildcats were ready to respond after getting punched in the mouth, and they earned their second title in three years -- along with the title of best program in college basketball.

It's a far cry from the narratives of five years ago.

"It's safe to say they can never say that again," Jenkins said of the "can't win in March" notion. "They can put that one to rest."