Everyone Says Philly Is a Great Basketball Town


Philadelphia’s a great basketball town.

You’ll hear this a lot, and it makes sense. The city has a rich basketball tradition. After being invented in Springfield, basketball spread to other east-coast cities, and eventually the Philadelphia SPHAs were one of the top teams. The Sixers may be down now, but they’ve had some of the biggest superstars in NBA history: Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley. More recently, the Sixers had Allen Iverson, the most exciting, interesting player of the post-Michael Jordan NBA.

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NCAA Tournament: Villanova an Ugly Winner, St. Joe’s Bounced, Phil Martelli’s Grandson Still Adorable

The Villanova Wildcats mascot performs in the first half of a men's college basketball game against Milwaukee Panthers during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Center. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Wildcats mascot performs in the first half of a men’s college basketball game against Milwaukee Panthers during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Center. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova is a very good basketball team.

You wouldn’t know it from the way they came into the tournament, but the Wildcats are one of the 10 best teams in the country. No, literally: They are only one of three schools to be in the top-10 in every major college hoops rating system. And Villanova — who went 28-4, losing to Syracuse, Creighton twice and Seton Hall in the Big East tournament – won in just about every way this season: It blew out teams. It won close games. It went 4-0 in overtime games. Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency numbers give the Wildcats the 19th best offense and 12th best defense.

And yet, despite earning a No. 2 seed in the Midwest region of the NCAA tournament, only 9.6% of brackets have Villanova in the Final Four. The numbers say Villanova passes every test: They’re good on both ends, they have wins over good teams, they won lots of games big — usually a sign of a great team. They are a legitimate National Championship contender. And yet, even in Philadelphia, I’m in a 159-player pool, and only one person took Villanova. (Uh, me. I like balanced, well-rounded college teams. Pomeroy gives them a 1-in-20 shot.)

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Vegas: Villanova Tied for 11th Best Odds of Going All the Way


The Wynn Race and Sports book in Las Vegas has released the betting lines for the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament.

On Thursday, in the second round of the East Regional in New York, Villanova is a 17-point favorite to beat the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. If the Wildcats win, they could play the Hawks of St. Joe’s in a championship version of the Holy War. However, St. Joe’s is a four-point underdog against the University of Connecticut.

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Philadelphia Metro Has 27 of 1,000 Richest U.S. Neighborhoods

vintage villanova ad

Image from a home builders catalog via Flickr user MidCentArc.

The Higley 1,000 — the list of America’s 1,000 wealthiest neighborhoods — has just been released by by geographer Stephen Higley. For those of us on the East Coast, there aren’t too many surprises: We can shrug our collective shoulders at the news that New York and Connecticut are full of moneyed white people. But it’s interesting to see the results for the Philadelphia metro area.

First, let’s listen to Higley talk about how tough it is to define “neighborhood”:

The concept of “neighborhood” in America is to say the least, amorphous. Realtors are notorious at “stretching” ill-defined neighborhood boundaries of wealthy places in the interest of generating higher prices through a halo effect.

Mapping companies vary from identifying virtually every sub-division (ADC Maps) to the grudging vagueness of a few well known neighborhoods (eg. Thomas Brothers Guides, Rand McNally). Google Maps, my main source for updating the Higley 1000 for 2010, has done an excellent job of adding neighborhoods in recent years. Still, there are many areas that are difficult to name as a “neighborhood”. I have used a variety of resources in trying to identify individual neighborhoods including extensive use of the internet.

(That’s cute — “extensive use of the internet.” Well, yes, we all use that thing from time to time.)

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Villanova, St. Joe’s Could Meet in Round of 32 “Holy War” in NCAA Tournament

The NCAA tournament bracket was released yesterday, and two Philadelphia-area schools qualified for the tourney. Even better: There’s a chance for an all-Big 5 matchup in the Round of 32. How exciting! Here are the Round of 64 matchups:

  • 6:55pm Thursday, TBS: (10) Saint Joseph’s vs. (7) Connecticut
  • 9:25pm Thursday, TBS: (2) Villanova vs. (15) Milwaukee

Inclusion in the NCAA tournament capped a great weekend for Saint Joseph’s, who beat Dayton on Friday, St. Bonaventure on Saturday and Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time since 1997. The Hawks are back in the tournament for the first time since 2008, when they lost to Oklahoma in the Round of 64.

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Top-Seeded Villanova Knocked Out of Big East Tournament on Buzzer Beater


Villanova came into today’s Big East Tournament game against Seton Hall as heavy favorites. The Wildcats were 28-3, ranked No. 3 in the country and were heavily-favored against 16-16 Seton Hall.

The Pirates — yes, there is a university in New Jersey nicknamed this — jumped out to a 30-15 lead. But Villanova went on a 16-0 run in the second half and eventually took the lead on a jumper with 11 seconds left.

Then, this happened.

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SOLD: Unique Japanese-Inspired Home in Villanova Fetches $1.5 Million

asian main line house

This four-bedroom home extends its Japanese design aesthetic from facade to landscaping to 6,300-square-foot interior. With wood and rice paper room dividers and jade-colored floor tiles, among other design notes, it’s remarkably consistent in its Asian approach.

The home includes large open spaces and a vaulted ceiling; a sunroom; multiple access points to the verandas; a private terrace for the master suite; a pool; gardens; and walkways. It all sits on almost three acres.

The home was originally listed for $2.5 million in 2012, but recently sold for a little more than $1.5 million. Gallery below.

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Villanova Estate: All the Style of “Game of Thrones,” None of the Beheadings


Some people like to visit castles on European vacations. Others like to read about them or obsessively follow premium cable programming about them. Then there are people on the Main Line who live in them. This is one such estate.

The home combines the architectural design elements of the medieval era (lots of timbered arches, leaded windows, original stained glass and castle details) with the modern luxury one would expect from a Villanova estate. The immaculte eat-in kitchen is new and includes its own wood-fired oven. The first floor also features a renovated family room and recreation wing. Outside is a flat 3.4 acre lot that has been professionally designed and landscaped. The grounds include a reflecting pond with fountain as well as a pool and several flagstone patios.

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