NEW YORK -- If the selection committee makes the choice that should be made, Villanova will be announced as the No. 1 overall seed Sunday night. 

The Wildcats (31-3), as impressive now as they’ve been at any point over the past three months, cruised to a Big East championship Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Villanova didn’t mess around, discarding Creighton 74-60 to win its second league tournament title in three seasons. And given how Villanova corrected itself from a near-upset against Seton Hall on Friday with its swift removal of the Bluejays, the Wildcats look frighteningly capable of winning another national title as we turn to the NCAA Tournament

That’s a great thing for college basketball. Getting the reigning national champion to return to the Big Dance as a No. 1 seed is uncommon. Even less common is getting champs who wind up entering the tournament, target on back, as the best team in college basketball. 

“We might have played our best defensive game of the year,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. 

Over the course of this season, given the entire body of work, Villanova has done just that. This was the best team in college basketball at the end of last season and looks like the best, most assured, most confident team in the sport. 

The NCAA Tournament always delivers, but this one’s going to feel different because of where Villanova stands and what it has done. The first weekend is reserved for buzzer-beaters, Cinderella stories and off-the-wall, unpredictable things that pump up the interest. The No. 1 seeds, unless upsets go down in the second round, don’t become a storyline until the second weekend. 

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Kris Jenkins and Villanova look ready to roll to another Final Four.  USATSI

Villanova will buck that trend, specifically because it will be a top seed (and, again, should be the No. 1 overall) filled with familiar faces, a famous coach, a stout Big East brand and still, I bet, a plethora of doubters. That’s fine. Bring on the skeptics. Villanova has been one of the three or four best programs in college basketball the past four years. If it can make a Final Four run, it will amount to modern college hoops royalty. 

“We’re  going to stay in New York tonight,” Wright said. “We’re going to enjoy this. Then we’re going to go home and it’s going to be Selection Sunday and start dealing with all the repeat, 1 seed, all that. Handling all that is going to be the biggest obstacle.”

Nova might be the biggest talking point in college hoops over the next three days, and it deserves to be. Though the Wildcats brought back a lot from last season’s team, this kind of success was not a given. Ask John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Kevin Ollie, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and a lot of other legendary coaches who tried to coach their teams back to the highest heights a year after winning a title, only to come up short. 

So with Villanova streaking into the Big Dance, college basketball has itself a fun, compelling storyline to track. The last team to win back-to-back titles was the 2006-07 Florida teams under Billy Donovan. This Villanova team is better. VU entered the season not as a preseason No. 1 (that was Duke) but as a consensus top-five team. It hasn’t been a letdown in any regard, not a one. The Wildcats’ only losses were by two points at Marquette and a sweep at the hands of Butler

No shame in that. It’s the only three-loss team in college basketball, and the only other team with fewer losses is Gonzaga. 

Villanova’s 31-3 mark presents the lowest total in the loss column for a reigning champion since Duke was 29-3 heading into the 2002 NCAAs. Now there will be some inevitable chatter about Villanova having the “pressure” of repeating, but it doesn’t seem like this team really carries that. Villanova’s been targeted, top-five all season, but it’s not villainous and it’s not star-studded with one-and-done guys.

“You know what, I don’t know yet about the pressure,” Wright said. “There’s different kinds of pressure during the year. There’s definitely a hangover from last year, which however you define it put pressure on us through this season. And I thought we handled it really well. And now this is the final piece going into the tournament. I don’t know what we’re going to feel like until a couple days ahead. We’re so focused -- this tournament was like a break from all of that, because you just get here and you know the NCAA Tournament’s coming. You get here, you’re just in New York, it’s just Big East teams, it’s that New York, Madison Square Garden vibe.”

Last season’s Villanova talking point was about shaking off March disappointment and merely winning three games in the tournament to validate reputation. Then it became a charmed Final Four run, then Kris Jenkins gave the sport its best ending ever. This year’s Villanova team is chasing all-time greatness, a back-to-back run that would go down as one of the best stories in sports in 2017.

Take a look at Jerry Palm’s latest bracketology, including his last four in and first four out

We’re still a long way away from that, but it feels a lot closer now than it did even a few months ago. Villanova has become one of the surest things in college hoops, and having a tournament with a reigning champ, an indefatigable favorite like Villanova only adds to the interest and intensity.   

But from a basketball-only standpoint, removing the incoming noise, there’s no doubt about it: This team looks ready to repeat.