This is the time of year at Villanova University when students get excited. This is the time of year when people grab their grills and head to downtown Philadelphia. This is the time of year when students register for the lottery. This is the time of year when Villanova Basketball begins.
When we see that first email from Thomas Morgan, asking us to register for Hoopsmania, any student who is a basketball fan gets excited. The logical next step as a Nova basketball fan is to go look at the team's schedule. We get to see when the games are scheduled and when the games are played at Wells Fargo Center.
Each year, Villanova holds 3-5 games at the Wells Fargo Center. Between the years 2011-2013, the basketball team played at the Wells Fargo Arena seven times. This year, the team is scheduled to play there four times. Unfortunately, for us as students, we will not be able to see two of those four games because the school scheduled the games during our spring break.
For the past two years Villanova's administration along with Villanova basketball have scheduled the Villanova versus Georgetown game during the break. The Marquette game takes place on March 1st, while the Georgetown game takes place on March 8th, right at the end of break.
When the Big East launched its conference schedule, the final game of the year is labeled a rivalry game for each team. Villanova's final game is against Georgetown. During our spring break. Now you understand our issue?
Villanova played Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA Championship game. Villanova was a huge underdog, and they were predicted to lose to powerhouse Georgetown, who was led by Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing. We all know that Villanova pulled one of the largest upsets in sports history as they beat Georgetown 66-64, while shooting a ridiculous 78% from the field.
Last year, the Georgetown game was one of the most important games of the year for Villanova. If they won that game, they were a lock to get into the NCAA Tournament, but if they were to lose, then all bets were off for the Big East Tournament. As we now know, Villanova managed to beat the 5th ranked team in the country on its home floor. This win propelled Villanova to reach the tournament.
This year, Villanova along with nine other schools, has formed a new Big East Conference. This conference is driven by basketball. So it is important in the first year to build rivalries within this new Big East. One of the more storied rivalries is Villanova and Georgetown. With Georgetown being one of the favorites in the league, the odds are that they are going to be ranked when they play Villanova are pretty high.
As students, we want to represent our school well, when we hear announcers discussing the weak student section, I take it personally.
So I decided to gain some insight into Villanova athletics. I went to Vince Nicastro and received some interesting answers. I talked to him see how much influence Villanova has over conference scheduling.
"Villanova basketball schedule is done through the conference office. We do not have a lot of influence of that. If we had to pick a date, it wouldn't be over Spring Break."
So moving on, I wanted to know if Villanova could control its own destiny, by moving its break. "The Academic calendar is driven by a group on campus. The breaks are determined at least 4 to 5 years in advanced. Traditionally the spring break has fallen over the Big East Tournament. But, it depends on the calendar and particular year.
We as students are particularly upset. But there is not a lot that can be done about it now. Hopefully the alumni will represent Nova Nation well in the students' absence. But it is good to know that in the future, Villanova athletics will have much more influence with the conference office over the scheduling of these marquee games.
"It can be a bit of a rubik's cube to figure out."