Then I look at Tennessee, Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas. That’s the next tier. Then there are some teams below that like Iowa State, Baylor and Marquette. All those teams could sneak in there. It’s amazing to me that no one talks about Iowa State! They’re the best defensive team in the country to me and could really surprise some people. Marquette is interesting because [point guard and potential first-round pick] Tyler Kolek is injured. He’s got a swagger—and I hated to say this as a coach—but they feed off his swagger. He’s so cocky in a good way, and he’s talented. Without him, they’re a completely different team.

In addition to doing TV now, you’re also a spokesman for [salon chain] Great Clips. How did that happen?

It’s been fun because Great Clips is such a great supporter of March Madness. We’re coming together to try and teach people the “Wrights and Wrongs” of preparing for the tournament. The first thing you gotta do is look clean, look good. You gotta get a nice haircut! There’s a lot of pressure on me now for my hair to look good all the time.

Don’t do anything crazy at the tournament. Don’t let your buddy shave your head because you think that’s good luck, or get upset because your team loses and get bangs. Don’t do that! Being too emotional and messing up your hair doesn’t work. Get a nice, clean cut. Do the Wright thing, not the wrong thing.

During your career, you were known for your sideline attire. Lots of immaculately tailored suits. Did it take a part of your soul when you realized that coaches are probably never going to wear suits again?

You know, I had a great tailor, Gabe D’Annunzio, who passed away during COVID. He took so much pride in every little stitch of my clothing. The inside lining on my vest, the back lining on my vest. I like nice clothes and nice suits, and now that I’m on TV I get to wear them again! But toward the end of my career, I had these really expensive suits and guys were sweating on me. I started thinking that it was a little crazy to be wearing those during games, so I’m actually okay with the guys wearing more relaxed coaching outfits.

At your peak, how many suits do you think you had in the closet?

At my height, probably 35. I used to keep a list of what suit I wore for what game and where, because someone started a website called Jay Wright’s Suits, and they would analyze every suit that I wore. I knew if I wore the same suit or matched it with the same tie, I would get criticized for it! So, I made sure I never wore the same suit twice.

I would literally keep the lists from year’s past, because I knew they were analyzing everything. I could never wear the same suit back to the same arena or even for the same team. No one has ever asked me that before! I’ve never said that.

Did you have special ones that were only for March?

No, no. Not special ones, but my favorite ones. In the tournament, I would wear a suit that I wore during the regular season, but I’d pick my favorite ones. When we played in Madison Square Garden—especially if it was a Friday or Saturday night—I always liked to wear darks. Navy, black, I just felt like it was New York City, Broadway, it was like a black tie affair!

Speaking of New York City, the Nova Knicks are the talk of the town! [Note: The Knicks currently have three players—Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo—who played for Wright at Villanova.] How gratifying is it for you to see them not only playing together in the NBA, but playing so well?

It’s awesome. I don’t get to watch the NBA as much, especially this time of year when I’m so intent on college basketball. But because those guys are in New York, and [former Villanova Wildcat] Kyle Lowry is in Philly, everybody’s sending me clips and I see the highlights on local news. I’m in New York a lot, and it’s been a lot of fun. Villanova’s largest alumni base is the New York metropolitan area, so they’re going crazy! I just told Jalen the other day that I can’t handle all the clips people send me about his crazy podcast. I hope I can get on there, because they’re funny, and I’m proud of how they’re playing! I was blessed to have those guys, man.



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