clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Final Four 2016: Why neutral fans should get behind the Villanova Wildcats

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Villanova are headed to Houston to play in the Final Four. That means 347 Division 1 schools are sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the season. If you're the fan of one of those schools, or any other neutral fan, you're probably wondering who you should support this weekend. We have the answer for you- the Villanova Wildcats. Here's why...

Do you support another BIG EAST school? Solidarity just makes sense, basketball is your first priority as it is at 'Nova. We were the first to propose the #BigEast4Nova and the official conference twitter account now has #BE4Nova as their name. Additionally, each BIG EAST school is making $795k for Villanova's run. So, just get on board. And you're welcome.

Do you like team-centric hoops? Villanova, who placed four starters on the All-Regional team, is extremely balanced. If one player has had an off-night or is facing injury, others have been able to step up to shoulder the load. Seven different Wildcats were the high scorer for a game at least once this season; each of the starting five, Jalen Brunson, Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Daniel Ochefu all led (or shared) the team in scoring in at least four games. The team has employed a "0-52" attitude where every single player on the roster thinks about the entire team first.

Do you go to Notre Dame, Boston College, a school in the West Coast Conference or any other Catholic institution? (Yes, I know ND likes football and that BYU, Pacific, and Pepperdine aren't Catholic) See point #1 above about the BIG EAST; except for the $$$ part. PLUS, Villanova has priests on the sidelines! Just like alma mater!

Do you like hard-nosed, gutsy players? None of the Wildcats rest on their laurels. They work hard, day in and day out to make the team better. One of the core tenets of Villanova Basketball is to maintain the proper "attitude"; if things don't go right at first- use that as an opportunity to correct it the next time it comes around. With the monkey of not getting to the second weekend of the Tournament on their back all season, this team took one game at a time and faced each obstacle in front them as they approached. The 'Cats are also know how to play "ugly"; if you see a player launching into the 3rd row or toppling over the courtside media table, it'll probably be a Wildcat.

Do you like clean programs? North Carolina is under investigation for academic fraud. Syracuse missed the post-season in 2015, coach Jim Boeheim had 108 victories vacated, and was hit with the nine-game suspension this season. Oklahoma and Villanova are not immune, but their Final Four trips are well-removed from those infractions.

Do you like well dressed coaches? Jay Wright has his own hashtag and featured column chronicling what he wears, for every game and sometimes in between. Enter #SuitWatchEven with his own custom suits, Jim Boeheim won't be making the style pages any time soon.

Are you angry about the "Power-5"? Villanova has a very good football program but they won't be playing for a Bowl Game next year. This is a plus if you don't want another "Power-5" school taking home a hoops trophy too (or if you hate football in general).

Do you like teams are underdogs even in their own media? Villanova shares the Philadelphia media cycle with the Phillies, the Eagles, the Flyers, the Sixers, and 5 other Division 1 colleges in the City; and Penn State and Rutgers are hovering around too. Throw in the geographical fact that 'Nova isn't actually within the city limits and the fans of the Wildcats are usually accustomed to the sense of being forgotten- until something bad or embarrassing happens or when 'Nova is doing off-the-charts well. Heck, there are some who wouldn't even welcome a parade in the City of Brotherly Love if the 'Cats win the title.

Do you support another Wildcat team? The wildcat mascot is the fourth most popular nickname in Division 1. So if you are a fan of Abilene Christian, Arizona, Bethune-Cookman, Davidson, Kansas State, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Northwestern, or Weber State you can still wear your Wildcats gear. Go Wildcats!