"Act like you've been there before," is apparently the new motto of a Villanova team expecting to be offered an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend. The program sat out the postseason last year after some very disappointing results and they look set to pick up a lower seeding in this season's bracket.
There won't be a campus-wide celebration on Selection Sunday. Instead, the team will watch the selection show privately, with no guests from outside the program or media invited.
The decision to watch the event alone signals that the Wildcat's presumed inclusion in the tournament again this season -- the eighth bid of head coach Jay Wright's tenure -- isn't an item for celebration. It is a fact. Villanova won't be a 1-seed or a 2-seed, which might be worthy of a campus-wide watch in the Pavilion, but they will expect to be in the field.
If they are snubbed, they will be snubbed alone, without the groan of a crowd. If they are given a good seed, location or matchup, there will be no cheers.
This is nothing special, it is business-as-usual.
Joe Lunardi had Villanova listed as a 10 seed, wearing blue against Creighton in Kansas City on his March 14th Bracket -- and safe from the "last four in" grouping. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, however, dropped the Wildcats to his last four in after Thursday night's loss to Louisville, projecting a trip to Dayton to play-in as a 12-seed, against Tennessee. SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean moved the Wildcats into his "last four byes," and seeded them as a 12, to face Wisconsin in (what is now known as) the second round.
Villanova is one area of major disagreement among bracketologists. Not only does Lunardi believe that Villanova is safe from the last four in, he doesn't have them on his bubble at all. The 'Cats aren't safely among the teams that will receive a bid, according to the ESPN bracketologist, and receive a bye to the Round of 64.
So Villanova won't make a public spectacle of Selection Sunday, as some other schools will. They won't pat this team on the back. The party will be small and subdued. The only reason to hang around afterward will be an obligation to speak to assembled media, invited to a post-selection press conference.
That is how the post-season will be handled this season at Villanova; matter-of-factly. The Wildcats didn't make it last year, but they are going to expect it every year, and this season will be no different.