What Villanova’s Win Means for a Philly Hoops Fan

Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino (right) with head coach Jay Wright after the Wildcats beat North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino (right) with head coach Jay Wright after the Wildcats beat North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

The very first time I went to the Palestra, I almost got run over by Bill Cosby.

My dad took me to the Atlantic 10 tournament. This was a doubleheader with a TempleSaint Joseph’s game and another quarterfinal. As we went up the walkway toward the gym, an older man was laughing with his friends and clowning around. He crashed into me. It wasn’t a big deal — I wasn’t knocked over or anything — but my dad turned to the guy ask him to knock it off. When he did, he realized it was Cosby.

I guess I eventually got Cosby back for this, but I remember what happened afterward much better: Temple beat Joe’s by 15 points, and I got my first introduction to Big 5 basketball.

That was not my only Atlantic 10 tournament. My dad took me again the very next year. St. Joe’s looked like they were going to lose to Rutgers. They trailed by 13 at one point. But the Hawks rallied and won it on a Bernard Blunt three-point play with just seconds left. I had never heard a louder crowd. Read more »

Philly to Hold Center City Parade for Villanova on Friday

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The city is going to throw Villanova a victory parade.

The parade starts Friday at 1 p.m., and will run from 20th and Market to Dilworth Park in Center City. It was first announced in an email from Villanova president Fr. Peter Donohue to students and alumni this morning. There will be a rally at Dilworth Park at the end of the parade.

The route will essentially be a redux of the Center City portion of the Taney Dragons parade held for the Little League team in the summer of 2014. The Wildcats won’t be continuing down Broad Street to be honored at Citizens Bank Park like the Dragons were.

Fr. Donahue said more details would be shared later this week. Read more »

Villanova Canceled Classes Today

Villanova basketball fans celebrate in Villanova after the Wildcats defeated North Carolina.

Villanova basketball fans celebrate in Villanova after the Wildcats defeated North Carolina.

Villanova students got a text this morning announcing what many had suspected would happen: The school canceled all classes today so kids can sleep off their hangovers. (Or, you know, continue to celebrate.)

The school bookstore is open until 6 p.m. for those wanting to buy championship gear. Read more »

WATCH: How Charles Barkley Celebrated Villanova’s Win

Villanova won the national championship last night on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer at the buzzer. It was a thrilling basketball game with an incredible finish, as ’Nova hit a three just five seconds after UNC had tied the game on a three of their own.

After the game, TNT shared video of Charles Barkley reacting to the game-winning shot. It’s amazing! Let’s talk about it. Read more »

WATCH: Fans React to Villanova Buzzer Beater

Villanova basketball fans view a broadcast of the national championship between Villanova and North Carolina, Monday, April 4th, in Villanova, Pa.

Villanova basketball fans view a broadcast of the national championship between Villanova and North Carolina, Monday, April 4th, in Villanova, Pa.

Most Outstanding Player Ryan Arcidiocono took the ball up court, and passed it back to the inbounder. Kris Jenkins let it fly. The three-pointer went in, and the Villanova Wildcats were national champions. It was an incredible finish to a thrilling national title game.

Watch how fans reacted to the game-winner around the region and at the game: Read more »

Villanova Wins National Championship, Twitter Goes Bonkers

Villanova's Phil Booth celebrates after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74.

Villanova’s Phil Booth celebrates after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74.

It’s been a rough sporting year here in Philadelphia, what with the rebuilding, and the tanking, and the other team tanking, oh, and the Rube Goldberg self-destruct device that was Chip Kelly‘s final Eagles season. Which might explain why when Kris Jenkins sealed Villanova’s first NCAA Championship since 1985 with a breath-taking, buzzer-beating trey, Twitter erupted with a wave of euphoria not seen around here since Brad Lidge put one past Eric Hinske. There’s a lot of great #Villanova tweets out there. These are just a few of our favorites: Read more »

Villanova Wins National Title on Buzzer Beater

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Kris Jenkins shoots the ball over North Carolina Tar Heels guard Joel Berry II during the second half in the National Championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Villanova is No. 1 again.

Going the length of the court in the final 4.7 seconds, Kris Jenkins took a pass from Ryan Arcidiacono and hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats the National Championship. Villanova won 77-74.

“I inbounded the ball to Ryan, and I was able to sprint up the court and get in his vision, and I was like, ‘Ryan! Ryan!’” Jenkins said on TV postgame. “Every time I two-step it’s going up. I think every shot’s going in, so that one was no different.”

“It’s Arch’s job to make the decision,” Jay Wright said on TV postgame. “Kris told him he was going to be open. Arch made the perfect pass.” Read more »

Don’t Mess With Wildcats: What It’s Like to Be a Villanova Fan in Houston Right Now

Photos | Matt Sheridan

Photos | Matt Sheridan

“The Final Four is just huge.”

That’s everything you hear going into it — that the National Semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament are basketball on a scale unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Honestly, it’s a bit of a sensory overload. The stadium is the biggest you’ve ever seen for basketball, the stakes are the highest you’ve ever felt and there are basketball-crazed people literally everywhere you go. It’s hard to put it all into a coherent narrative, so instead of that, here’s a list of the sights and sounds as the Villanova Wildcats and ’Nova Nation have traveled down to Houston for this year’s Final Four. Read more »

How Villanova Can Win the National Title Tonight

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The chalkboard gag from last night’s Simpsons.

The Simpsons are rooting for the Villanova Wildcats.

Who knows why — maybe because Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman has a Philly connection (he went to Penn), maybe because Villanova’s history graduate program writes about the show, or maybe because Barney Gumble was once a guest lecturer at Villanova — but the chalkboard gag in last night’s Simpsons episode was, “If Villanova doesn’t win we lose everything.” So the Villanova Wildcats have the writing staff of The Simpsons on their side. Game over, right?

Of course not. (Nor do I believe the situation is as dire as Bart’s teacher thinks it is — some people will be happy if Villanova loses!) Tonight’s National Championship Game against the North Carolina Tar Heels will be, appropriately, the toughest game the Wildcats have played in all year. It will be for North Carolina, too — they’re just 2.5-point favorites.

“This is going to be a hell of a game,” Jay Wright said at a press conference yesterday. “This is going to be a good game.” It’s true: John Gasaway says that these are the two best offenses to reach the national final over the past 15 tournaments.

“With only a minor exception here and there,” he writes, “basically every single player in this national championship game is having a phenomenal tournament on offense.” He notes that Ryan Arcidiacono, the Langhorne native who has been Villanova’s third option this tournament, has taken 54 shots (including free throws) this tournament. He’s made 40 of them. He’s shot almost 75 percent over five games so far. That’s incredible!

But it goes deeper than just the tournament. Ken Pomeroy‘s rankings have North Carolina the No. 1 rated offense in the game. His No. 1-rated player in the country is UNC’s Brice Johnson. His 5th-rated player is Villanova’s Josh Hart. (The Massey Ratings have UNC’s offense No. 1 and Villanova’s offense a little lower — No. 12. But Massey’s system rates the Wildcats the No. 2 defense in the country; Pomeroy has them 6th. Both systems have UNC’s defense in the 20s.)

To summarize, Jay Wright is correct: This is going to be a hell of a game. Read more »

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