It was packed in the Villanova Room inside the Connelly Center. Many students lined up wanting to be there live, to celebrate with the basketball team as the field of 68 was being announced. Students lined up at the door and waited until they would open up to the public. It was in such a high demand that for some, they were turned away as the Villanova Room was filled up. Those who weren’t lucky enough to get a spot in the Villanova Room, were sent to other areas for viewing.
Fans and alumni alike waited anxiously to see where Villanova stood and who would be standing in their way in the tournament. The selection committee did a good job of keeping Villanova fans on the edge, as they had to wait for the last region to be announced to see who the Wildcats would play first and what seed they would receive. They had been a contender for the 1-seed, but ultimately it went to Virginia. The Wildcats grabbed the final 2-seed and will play against the 15-seed University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Villanova has some interesting company in the East region, aside from top seed Virginia, there are a number of familiar faces and threatening foes. Should the Wildcats win their first game, they will play the winner of UConn-St. Joe’s. Connecticut is a former Big East member, and moved to the American this season. St. Joseph’s is one of Villanova’s Big 5 rivals. The rivalry has increased in intensity in recent years, thanks to Halil Kanacevic‘s shenanigans. The Villanova-St. Joe’s rivalry is one of the bigger ones in the Big 5, and is also known as “The Holy War.” Also in the East region is another former Big East member, Cincinnati. Current Big East member and conference champion Providence will face off against North Carolina, a team that knocked off the Wildcats last year. Iowa State and Michigan State are other noteworthy teams in the East region, both teams have enjoyed great seasons and have earned the #3 and #4 seed respectively. Here’s a look at the full East region (click to zoom):
Coach Jay Wright then addressed the crowd, thanking them for coming out and supporting the team in what has been a great season. He acknowledged the players’ families who came down. He called the seniors to come up and captain James Bell had a few words for the audience before wrapping up the Selection Sunday festivities.
Four teams from the Big East are going dancing. Aside from Villanova and Providence, Creighton and Xavier also got an invitation. Creighton got a 3-seed and will take on 14-seed Louisiana to begin. Xavier is in, but will have to win their play-in game if they want to be a part of the main body. They will be playing N.C. State for a 12-seed and a chance to play 5-seed Saint Louis.