Whether Catholic university basketballrnis better than, well, non-Catholic university basketball can be argued longrnafter the winners’ trophies are awarded, the losers’ tears are dried andrneveryone goes back to the business of earning their degrees (or so we wouldrnhope).

But it’s clear that in 2018, Catholicrnschools — for the first time ever — reign supreme in both men’s and women’srnbasketball, as Villanova and Notre Dame earlier this week won NCAArnchampionships in different but compelling fashions.

Villanova earned its second men’s titlernin three years under head coach Jay Wright (and its third overall) when it dominatedrnMichigan 79-62 on April 2 — two years after thernWildcats beat North Carolina in the 2016 title match, and more than threerndecades after Rollie Massimino coached Villanova to an upset win over Georgetownrnin 1985.

A day earlier, the Fighting Irishrnwomen’s team posted a dramatic 61-58 victory over Mississippi State to win itsrnsecond title and first since 2002, both under coach Muffet McGraw. Notre Damernhad lost the championship game four times in five seasons (2011, 2012, 2014 andrn2015) before downing MSU on Arike Ogunbowale’s three-point basket in the finalrnsecond.

Since the women’s tournament began inrn1982, only one other Catholic university besides Notre Dame has reached thernchampionship game: Rutgers of New Jersey, who lost to Tennessee in 2007.

The men’s title game, meanwhile, whichrnwas first played in 1939, has seen a dozen different Catholic schools compete,rnwith Georgetown the first to play for the title (losing to Wyoming in 1943),rnand Holy Cross the first to win (beating Oklahoma in 1947).

After St. John’s of New York was beatenrnby Kansas in 1952, La Salle of Philadelphia was the next Catholic university tornwin the NCAA championship, beating Bradley in 1954. The Explorers returned tornthe finals the very next season, in the tournament’s first all-Catholic schoolrnfinal, where they were beaten by one of the most famous teams of all-time,rnCatholic or not, the University of San Francisco.

The Dons, led by Bill Russell andrncoached by Phil Woolpert, became the first and only Catholic school to winrnback-to-back titles when they defeated Iowa in 1956, running off a then-recordrn56 straight wins over two seasons.

In 1958, a Seattle team led by futurernLaker great Elgin Baylor lost to Kentucky — the NCAA super-power of thernpre-John Wooden era. But in 1963, Loyola of Chicago — before its associationrnwith Mundelein College and its then assistant director of scholastics, Sisterrnof Charity Jean Dolores Schmidt (a child of ’43) — rallied from a 15-pointrndeficit to stun No. 1-ranked Cincinnati, 60-58 on Vic Rouse’s basket with onernsecond left in overtime.

Dayton University had the honor in 1967rnof being the first of seven straight teams to lose to Wooden’s UCLA Bruins inrnthe championship game, 79-64. In 1971, Villanova became the fifth, losing 68-62rnbut hanging close to UCLA much longer than anyone expected.

Al McGuire coached Marquette ofrnMilwaukee to the title game twice in the mid-1970s, losing to North CarolinarnState in 1974, but beating North Carolina in 1977. Then Georgetown, under thernstern hand of coach John Thompson, reached the finals three times in fourrnyears, losing 63-62 to North Carolina in 1982, beating Houston 84-75 in 1984,rnand (as mentioned earlier) losing 66-64 to Villanova in 1985.

Four years later, upstart Seton Hall ofrnSouth Orange, N.J., nearly pulled off a shocker, losing 80-79 to Michigan inrnovertime. After that, it was 27 years until another Catholic school appeared inrna men’s final, when Villanova beat North Carolina in 2016.

A yearrnlater, Gonzaga of Spokane — the long-dominant power of the West CoastrnConference — reached the championship games against perennial national powerrnNorth Carolina, which prevailed 71-65. Villanova’s title win April 2 makesrnthree straight years a Catholic university has made the men’s finals.