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The Sun’s Arizin: Did Villanova Basketball Win The Big 5 This Year?

So... are we ever going to see that Temple game?

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Happy Friday Nova Nation! In between shaking off that loss to Marquette and a short road trip down to DC to face Georgetown, I figured we’d take a step back and wonder what happens with the Big 5 Title this season? As you may recall, the lone game Villanova has had postponed due to COVID was the Temple game in late December when the Owl’s program went on pause. Villanova had already swept its first three Big 5 opponents, so the ‘Cats remain undefeated and in line for their record breaking 28th title which would finally give them the most Big 5 Championships in Philadelphia history.

Right now, the standings are as follows:

  1. Villanova: 3-0
  2. Temple: 2-1
  3. La Salle: 2-2
  4. St. Joe’s: 2-2
  5. Penn: 0-4

Because there is no tie-breaker for the title, Villanova has already clinched at least a share of the Championship. If the Temple game gets rescheduled, and the Owls pull off a HUGE upset, they would also clinch a share of the title. And that leads us to the biggest question about the Big 5 this season: Will Villanova and Temple actually play this game?

Let’s start with the logistics and see if there’s actually a date that makes sense for these two to play. Assuming that we rule out anything that would require either team to play on back-to-back nights there are a few dates that both teams have open. The problem is that any of these dates would require one or both teams to play three games in five days. That’s simply not going to happen when the schools are in charge of rescheduling. And when you consider that scheduling the Temple game could end up taking the spot of a postponed Big East game that could have been played, there’s even more disincentive for the Wildcats to get this one back on the books. I think it’s safe to say that these two rivals are going to go a second straight year without playing each other.

So what does that mean for the Big 5 Title? Likely it means it goes to Villanova, but I have no idea what the “official” rules for an uneven schedule would be. But that leads me to the bigger question we usually hear every off season: what should be done about the Big 5?

I’ve covered this topic before, but the brief synopsis is we should absolutely keep playing these games, the format just needs to improve. Every few years someone floats the idea of a “Tournament” to be held, but that wouldn’t work for a couple of reasons. First off, playing in a tournament would require Villanova to give up playing in another early season tournament as they could only play in one. Additionally, you can only play in the same early season tournament once every four years unless you’re the host university, which would again ruin the idea of having all five teams involved every year.

The best solution in my mind is to have a triple header every year either at the Palestra or Wells Fargo. Two games are Big 5 matchup, and the 5th is a game between the remaining Big 5 member and a team of their choosing. Sorry Drexel, we’re not getting shoe horned into playing you twice a decade. This way every 5 years Nova can bring down Syracuse or schedule the UConn or St. John’s games during the event. Basically any New York-ish team that the rest of the Philly schools can get behind rooting against. Then again, they’ll probably still root against Nova anyway, but it’ll be fun. As for the two Big 5 matchups, you try to have this be the last Big 5 game for each of those schools. This way, you’re likely crowning the Big 5 Champion on that night, and if you schedule the two likely best teams to meet, there’s your defacto Champiionship game.

This would make the Big 5 an event, even if it’s just for a day, and pumps some much needed juice back into the round robin. Heck, have a little fair or festival around it to so it’s not just about going to the games, but it’s a full day of basketball and fun for the city. There’s nothing else in college basketball like this, and bringing back a big night of college hoops in the city the way it used to be at the Palestra would be fantastic... even if the competition these days hasn’t been.

In other news...

Villanova at Georgetown

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Marquette defeats Villanova

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Big 5

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Thursday January 27, 2022: For the 24th consecutive year, the Villanova University Literary

Festival is bringing prize-winning poets, novelists...

College Basketball

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