Finally dancing again in March

James Evans

March is truly deserving of its adjective, as this is the one month where it seems that everybody gets swept up in basketball hysteria.

Whether it is the local college students, skipping classes to watch games or businessmen sneaking out of work early to catch their alma mater play, March basketball’s impact on the world is overwhelming.

Everyone tries to pick the perfect bracket and people look to find the upset that no one else knows about. Bracket pools take place, wherever one can find five or more people willing to wager on their picks.

The men’s basketball team is going to the tournament this year after a six year hiatus, and the feeling around the Main Line is a mixture of relief, excitement, surprise and joy.

Relief for seniors, who chose Villanova over their local school to be a part of a Division I basketball program.

Excitement for juniors, who know that this team is on the rise and next year it will be one of the stronger teams in the Big East and the nation.

Surprise for Sophomores, who saw practically the same team last year struggle to just above the five hundred mark, only to witness them secure over 20 wins this season.

Joy for freshmen, who are enjoying there first year in college with a chance to watch their team in the tournament.

Though the student body is salivating over the tourney bid and many have planned to travel the 13 hours by car it takes to get to Nashville, sans tickets or a place to stay, this trip to the tourney must be most rewarding for Coach Jay Wright.

And yes, Coach Wright will never take credit and will always divert the praises to his players, while taking all of the blame.

But after four years on the Main Line, Coach Wright has finally seen his system come to the forefront.

Four years ago, Wright came to Villanova too close to the beginning of the season to recruit any players and was stuck with a roster that was still filled with Steve Lappas’ recruits.

That year, Wright made a run with Lappas’ boys and came within a basket of going to the tournament.

In his second year, coach Wright was stuck in the middle, wanting to play his recruits he brought in, the third best recruiting class in the nation (the “fab four” Curtis Sumpter, Jason Fraser, Randy Foye and Allan Ray); yet they were inexperienced and stars such as Gary Buchanan and Ricky Wright were still on the team.

After the scandal at the end of his second season carried over into the beginning of Coach Wright’s third season, the ‘Cats were already behind the eight ball.

The ‘Cats surged at the end of the season and were able to make the NIT, by pulling off two upsets in the Big East Tournament and getting to a five hundred season.

Coming into this season, everyone hoped that Villanova would be able to stay healthy and that they would finally be able to show the promise that everyone believed they had two years ago.

Villanova started off hot, winning eight of its first nine games. However, ‘Nova started off 2-3 in the Big East and doubts began to creep in, but a mid-season upset over No. 2 Kansas proved to the nation that this team should not be taken lightly.

With all this team has been through these past few years-from the lows to the highs, to upsetting a No.2 and a No.3 team-this Friday’s game should have no bearing on the contributions the team has had on Villanova basketball. They are already back on the map.