When the Villanova basketball schedule was released last Friday, 'Nova fans were greeted to a big surprise, and what many will consider a big plus for the coming season. The team will tip-off 7 times this season in downtown Philadelphia at The Wells Fargo Center - 8 times if you count the exhibition game against the University of District of Columbia.
5 of the 7 games could be considered marquee events:
- January 12th vs. Louisville Cardinals
- January 15th vs. Maryland Terrapins
- January 29th vs. Georgetown Hoyas
- February 5th vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
- February 21st vs. Syracuse Orange
The remaining 2 games vs. the Delaware Blue Hens and the St. John's Red Storm may have some fans asking why them and not teams such as the Pittsburgh Panthers and a Big 5 opponent? For me, the only confusing choice is Delaware -- but we aren't the only team (or event) to play in that building and scheduling is a big issue -- the fact that we were able to book the venue for 8 games is the most impressive part.
What that means is that Villanova Basketball - as a brand - is growing. People want to see us play. The Wells Fargo Center decided that 5 games wasn't enough for them, and seized the opportunity to get us there for more. And really, who's complaining?
Unless you're a season-ticket holder, a student, or seriously connected it's nearly impossible to get a seat in The Pavilion, especially for any game worth seeing. I think most of the alums feel the same way -- more games downtown is better.
I was a big fan of The Pavilion when I was there, and the electricity in that place is insane when a big-time program comes to town, but now that I'm out I'm certainly not upset about 15,000 more seats to choose from 3 more times a year. We regularly put over 20,000 butts in the seat there -- and it's passionate fans, not the wine and cheese crowd that occupies space on campus.
And for recruiting it's nothing but positive. Most high school ball players want to make it to the NBA -- becoming a more national program and showing them they are going to get to play in front of 20,000 raucous fans is going to attract more talent for the program.
Between this and the football saga, it's an exciting time to be a part of 'Nova Nation!