I apologize for slacking off on posts. It was one heck of a week but things are looking like they will be back on the right track.
Tonight marks the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game. While Villanova will not be partaking in tonight’s game, there are a number of things at stake. As a Villanova fan, who should you root for? Should you go for the team that knocked off the Wildcats in the opening weekend, or the team that has a shot at redefining history and infringe upon what made the 1985 Villanova team so unique?
Thanks to an outstanding performance by Shabazz Napier, the UConn Huskies were able to take down the Villanova Wildcats in this year’s tournament. He has continued to play at a high level all throughout the tournament, but he is not alone. Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels have also played well, and are excellent supplemental pieces to Napier.
The Huskies will be facing off against a much bigger Kentucky Wildcat squad. The Wildcats have been wreaking havoc on their side of the bracket. They took down #1 Wichita State, a heavily favored Louisville squad, and back-to-back #2 seeds in Michigan and Wisconsin. Big man Willie Cauley-Stein may be in question as for whether or not he plays, but the Wildcats continue to play just fine without him. Aaron Harrison has played the hero in the last two games, coming to the rescue with two clutch go-ahead baskets. However, don’t count the rest of the team out, they all have provided large contributions to the winning effort.
With everything in place for Monday night’s showdown, Villanova fans should get ready to root for the old Big East foe, UConn. Yes, they disrupted what was a great season for Villanova, but there are bigger things at stake. The 1985 Villanova Wildcats basketball team pulled off what is considered to be the greatest upset in college basketball history. On April 1, 1985, Patrick Ewing’s “indomitable” Georgetown team were defeated by the 8-seeded Villanova Wildcats. To this day, the 1985 Villanova Wildcats stand alone as the the lowest seeded team to ever win the NCAA Tournament. Now, Kentucky has a chance to rewrite history.
The conversations have already begun, which team is better? The 1985 Villanova Wildcats or the 2014 Kentucky Wildcats? ESPN’s Dana O’Neil wrote a piece defending the Villanova squad, saying that it wasn’t even close. ESPN has a tendency to favor what is newer (LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan) and they are also the only network to say the Wildcats upset win was not the best. While Coach Jimmy V’s N.C. State win over Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma was amazing, I am going to have to disagree with ESPN in saying that was the greatest upset in college basketball. Virtually everyone wrote Villanova off. Newspaper headlines and media outlets were counting down for the moment that Patrick Ewing would hold up the National Championship trophy.
Kentucky cannot win. A victory will put them in the same sentence, the same league as the 1985 Villanova team. The debate and the comparisons have already begun. Frankly, this is a Kentucky team that was a disappointment for most of the regular season. They started off as #1 in the nation, only to move up-and-down throughout the polls. They have always had talent, talent that will eventually look for the NBA. They simply did not live up to their expectations or potential during the regular season, earning them an 8-seed. Kentucky is listed as the favorite over UConn.
UConn needs to win in order to put an end to all comparisons. This Kentucky team does not deserve to be in the same league or be regarded as better than the 1985 Villanova team. No one should have the option to say that this Kentucky team is superior. Oh and also, if you liked Michigan’s Fab Five, you might want to root against Kentucky for that reason too.
Dana O’Neil said it best, “These guys aren’t true Cinderellas.”