Villanova awaits its fate

040409_nova_400
The Wildcats huddle up at the end of Friday's practice at Ford Field in Detroit. (Eric Mecher / Staff Photographer)

The Villanova Wildcats are likely in the building already. It is still more than a half-hour from tipoff of the first national semifinal between Michigan State and Connecticut, and it is a complete circus outside of Ford Field and has been for hours. The predominant sound is motorcycle cops and their sirens -- and Spartans fans. With all of that, you have to figure that Villanova is safely tucked away already.

Much has been made of the cavernous building and controversial configuration to put the court right in the middle and try to sell out the place, lousy seats be damned. Well, they apparently have done it -- 72,000 strong -- and there are so many Michigan State people here that it isn't funny. I'm sure Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun doesn't think it's funny, for one.

You wonder what the crowd will be like when Villanova and North Carolina finally get around to their bit of business at close to 9 pm. If the Spartans win, you have to figure that everybody will stay and root their green-clad backsides off for the underdog Wildcats against the Tar Heels. If the Spartans lose the first game, you wonder what kind of a morgue this might turn into.

A word about pointspreads. I have seen North Carolina favored over Villanova by 7 1/2 or 8 points. In comparison, the 1985 Wildcats were 9 1/2-point underdogs when they pulled off the miracle upset of Georgetown. You have to remember, though, that there was no shot clock in the 1985 tournament (for the last time, by the way) and the game was played in the low 60's. This Villanova-North Carolina game could easily end up in the low 90's, a 50 percent increase in points. Given that, 7 1/2 points isn't nearly the hole that 9 1/2 points was back then.

But that is for later.

In the meantime, Villanova waits.

Continue Reading