I'm sure you've been exposed to it in some way this season. "The Villanova Wildcats haven't made it past the Round of 32 since 2009." Maybe you read it in an article. Maybe you heard that sad fact on your television. There's a chance some Twitter troll who doesn't even follow you had told about the recent tournament history, too. It was insufferable, and inescapable.
Leading up to the first weekend of the tournament, Jay Wright and his players were asked time and time again about what this tournament meant and what was going through the team's mind as they approached the dreaded Second Round game. Wright had one general outlook on the matter: "We can't address it beforehand, because we don't know if we'll even make it there. Once it's here, then we have to take care of business."
And wow, did they ever take care of business! It was one big eff you shot across the bow to everyone.
Starting in January, I began to see how serious people were about Villanova's early round exits. I began taking screenshots of the tweets I saw, thinking it will be funny to show people who were so overconfident as far back as a month or two before Selection Sunday. That little project soon spread to a PhD thesis as others would tag me in their mentions or the mentions of other high-profile accounts like Jon Rothstein or SportsCenter.
All in all, over 400 tweets were collected. I've trimmed that down to 309, all basically saying Villanova will lose in the Round of 32. If Villanova were a 1-seed, I'd have tons more saying they would be the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed. Alas, the NCAA committee did not play ball.
So I leave you with this. Bask in it. Use it as one final cleanse of the stink of that label. And most of all, laugh. That's what this is intended for.
NOTE: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not go after these people on Twitter, as they have a right to have an opinion. I am only here to show how widespread this belief was; it fascinated me too. There are probably hundreds of tweets that I missed.
CLAIM: This was impossible to keep track of. If there are repeats of accounts or tweets, I profusely apologize. I decided to show pictures rather than embed the tweets themselves because I rightfully predicted these tweets would be deleted. For example, Doug Gottlieb quickly deleted tweets saying Maryland was way better than Villanova after the Terps dropped a home game to Wisconsin and lost a terrible game at Minnesota.