‘Nova faithful ready for Mania of basketball season

Mike Fazzini

It all started Friday night, at around 8:30 p.m. outside the Jake Nevin Field House.

The Villanova faithful started to line up an hour and a half before Hoops Mania kicked off at 10 p.m., and once the doors opened, there was a frenzied rush towards the stage and, after 15 minutes of growing anticipation, men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright finally appeared.

The place started rocking and continued to do so throughout the course of the evening. There were contests that allowed a pair of students to win a trip to Miami with the team and one that gave three students a chance at winning a 2003 Ford Mustang, while the two “most painted-up” students to shot for a chance at $10,000.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of the evening was the appearance of Comcast Sportsnet reporter Dei Lynam and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who helped coach Wright get the crowd fired up.

Wright also took part in a foul-shooting contest against Villanova students.

After a performance from the Villanova cheerleading squad, the Villanova men’s basketball team was introduced as the building nearly shook from the intensity of the crowd. The evening concluded with the men’s team launching t-shirts into the crowd.

The following day, the men’s team held its annual Blue vs. White scrimmage.

The blue team managed to beat the white team by the score of 48-36. Freshmen Curtis Sumpter and Allan Ray led the way with 12 points each, while Sumpter also pulled down six rebounds.

Junior Andreas Bloch chipped in 10 points for the blue team, while freshman Jason Fraser scored five points, pulled in nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

Junior Derrick Snowden dished out six assists. The white team was led by preseason All-Big East second-team selection Ricky Wright, who had 12 points and six rebounds, freshman Randy Foye who scored nine points and junior Andrew Sullivan who scored eight points. The only player who did not participate in the Blue vs. White games was senior preseason All-Big East second-team selection Gary Buchanan.

Buchanan has been nursing a slight fracture of his left thumb as well as a sprained MCL in his right knee.

The Wildcats will be giving their fans the first taste of action on Nov. 15 when they travel to Madison Square Garden to play Marquette.