Why Everyone In Philly Needs To Root For Villanova

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I went to Philly for the weekend, and got to watch my alma mater beat Kansas, the #1 overall seed, and head to to the Final Four. Imagine my surprise when I listen to 97.5 Sportsradio and listen to Harry Mayes slam Villanova on Saturday, rooting for Kansas, and after the win now claims to be rooting for Oklahoma. 

What the fuck?

I understand that mentality in football, or other professional sports, to hate on a team. Eagles fans don't like the Cowboys. Yankees fans don't like the Red Sox. That's normal. Rivalry and all that, plus having to deal with boorish fans from opposing teams. I'd like to give you the top 5 reasons why if you are from Philly, why you need to get on board with Villanova.

1. Villanova is the modern day equivalent of Hoosiers. They are a squad of B players, who win because they play as a team. In a day an age of prima donna superstars (i'm looking at you, LeBron) and perennial college basketball powerhouses with A list players - Villanova are scrappy underdogs looking to beat the champion teams. 

2. How about...just don't hate? If you are a Temple fan, a fan who really hates Villanova during the regular season, how about you don't jump on the North Carolina or Oklahoma bandwagon right now? This isn't like pro-sports. Just because your team isn't in the Final Four, you don't need to seethe over the idea that Villanova is in the Final Four. If anything seethe over the idea that your program needs to emulate what Villanova is doing right, not being upset that your team isn't in the Final Four.

3. This would be good for Philly. Right now Philly is in a championship funk. It is a city dying to feel good after Chip Kelly started a dumpster fire on the Eagles, the Sixers are a 9 win team, the Flyers are trying their best to make the playoffs and the Phillies are looking to win 70 wins next season. Last time we had anything to cheer for were the Phillies in 2008 - and realistically we should have won more than 1 Championship with the Phillies. But it's Philly, where nothing comes easy. Villanova winning would be huge for the psyche of the Philadelphia fan.

4. Also this is college basketball. Most of these kids on the Villanova squad aren't playing for NBA contracts. I am a huge fan of Ryan Arcidiacano, but more than likely he's not going to the NBA (you never know, he may play abroad), he's probably graduating in June and headed for a regular job somewhere. Like I made in my first point, these are regular guys who are playing for pride right now.

5. Lastly, and not least, Jay Wright. The man is a class act. Seriously, if you aren't familiar with him, you really should watch him during interviews and see the program he built. Look at Chip Kelly or Ruben Amaro, at guys who come in, ruin everything and leave. Villanova isn't like other college programs. They don't recruit selfish players. They are the epitome of the college student athlete, you can't go to Villanova and have bad grades, like you might be able to get away with at other state schools. These kids are smart and athletic, and molded by Jay's vision to be selfless players that don't have a bad attitude. They really are the ideals that we hope to live up to - play the game, may the best team win, and be a good loser and a good winner. That's all you can really ask for.

So, I hope next week that Villanova can take a big step forward and make it to the NCAA Championships. They are a good bunch of kids, headed by a coach with a big heart and a program that is styled to promote good student athletes. Go Wildcats! 

If you are in Hoboken, please join fellow fans to root on Nova at Mulligan's Pub (159 1st Street) on Saturday at 6pm.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on March 28, 2016 12:33 AM.

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