Villanova was one of hundreds of thousands of PECO customers who lost power on Wednesday, and the school remains without power or heat, forcing them to cancel classes. Since PECO has been unable to provide an estimate for power restoration, the University has cancelled classes and shut down for the rest of the week. Students residing on campus have been advised to consider returning to their parents' homes if they can do so.
Only minimal power is being supplied to campus buildings at the moment, to power a small number of emergency lighting and fire alarm systems -- with the exception of Dougherty Hall on South Campus, which is fully heated and powered by a generator and will remain open for students all night.
The scheduled basketball game against Seton Hall may be the last thing on students minds or on the minds of administrators, but if power is not restored by Friday's 7pm tip-off, it may be impossible to host the Pirates at the Pavilion as planned.
VU Hoops has reached out to Villanova to ask about contingency plans for this game. Sports Information Director Mike Sheridan stated:
"At this point it is too soon to speculate on if today's power outage may impact Friday night's game with Seton Hall. We are in close communication with our Public Safety officials and will continue to assess the situation as it develops."
While Villanova is not prepared to speculate, we will indulge the idea. In the event of an extended power outage, the school likely has three options: (1) finding a generator big enough to fully power the Pavilion; (2) find another venue at which to host the game; (3) reschedule the game; or (4) cancel the game.
The fourth option would seem unlikely, with the conference office looking to maintain its television obligations and balanced schedule. Cancelling would remain a last-ditch option for the school and the Big East.
Finding a generator big enough to power the Pavilion may be possible, but it is unlikely that such a generator would be available to Villanova. With hundreds of thousands without power in southeast Pennsylvania, any sizeable generator available for rent will likely be used to provide heat and power for homes around the area. Lighting up a basketball game may seem too frivolous.
Of other venues in the area, only the Palestra, Wells Fargo Center and Liacouras Center are large enough to accommodate the 6,500 ticket holders Villanova expects for on-campus games. Both the Palestra (Penn) and Wells Fargo Center (Sixers) will be in use on Friday night, however. The Liacouras Center does appear to be available, if the Wildcats could work something out with the Temple athletic department to host their game there.
Rescheduling is also a possibility, with an earlier or later tip-off allowing the Wildcats to use either the Palestra or WFC in a double-header arrangement, though it may inconvenience either Penn or the 76ers to do so. If they were to move to a different date altogether, the only options would appear to be the 8th or 9th of February, to ensure that each school has at least 48-hours between games.
Any rescheduling, however, will depend heavily on input from Fox Sports executives, as Gannett's Jerry Carino pointed out.
@Brian_Ewart I would be surprised if Fox allowed the game to be rescheduled. TV calls the shots, right?— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) February 5, 2014
@Brian_Ewart Whatever decision is made, I'm sure the TV execs will be heavily involved.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) February 5, 2014
If Fox Sports 1 really can't withstand having an unscheduled timeslot at 7pm on Friday, there is another option, however. Villanova fans may not like this suggestion, but it could keep the game on schedule.
@Brian_Ewart There's always the Rock in Newark...(practically a home court).— Joseph Dzuback (@vbtnBlog) February 5, 2014
The situation is still developing on-campus, and Villanova is holding out hope that power can be restored before Friday's scheduled tip-off.