Over the last few days, there's been a rather amusing spat going on between Temple and Villanova fans in the comments here and on Philly Hoops Insider. The question, of course, is which team is better; the answers have been just as predictable.
From what I can tell, the Villanova fans' argument generally centers around their higher ranking and in the polls and the quality of Big East teams compared to the Atlantic 10.
The Temple fans' argument generally centers around the fact that Temple beat Villanova this season, and is topped off with their insistence that the media in Philadelphia disrespect the Owls by not giving them as much coverage as Villanova gets when playing a team that is also ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
It's true. I've never had anyone come into my liveblogs under the handle "Tannenwald Hates Villanova."
I find the whole thing rather humorous, though I don't really have a choice. I doubt I'll ever be able to convince you that I in fact like Temple very much, because the only way I would have been able to prove thatt would have been to blow off one of the biggest games left in the regular season. Had I done that, I probably would have missed even more of La Salle-St. Joe's than I did.
(Yeah, that was real subtle, wasn't it.)
I will say this, though. If you want to argue that Temple deserves the same amount of attention that Villanova gets - and there's a perfectly legitimate argument to make - then you should do two other things at the same time: complain about the Atlantic 10's mostly ESPN-less TV deal, and sell out the Liacouras Center.
Even if only two-thirds of the 20,225 fans at the Wachovia Center this past Saturday were Villanova fans, that number (13,483) is still almost 3,000 people more than the capacity of the Liacouras Center (10,500). It's also more than double the 6,356-person crowd that watched Temple clinch its first Atlantic 10 regular season title in eight years this past Saturday.
I think Fran Dunphy and his players deserve better than that, especially knowing how many Temple alumni there are in the Philadelphia region. I don't have an easy explanation for why Temple doesn't draw bigger crowds, but it's a statement of fact that the only full house this season came when Kansas brought half the fans. Even the Owls diehards among you can admit that's a problem.
Okay. that's enough of my ranting. Feel free to air your own views in the comments. Now it's time to move on to the Championship Week edition of the Schuylkill 16 rankings. And if what I've just written doesn't have you agitated enough, this should finish the job:
Temple jumped over Villanova into the top spot this week. By one first-place vote.
I'm surprised, but I do think that Temple and Villanova are closer to each other qualitatively right now than they've been all season. The voters explain their views below.
There's a lot more content coming on the blog today. This afternoon, I'll be in New York for CBS' NCAA Tournament Media Day and St. John's vs. Connecticut in the Big East tournament. After that game, I'll be heading to Princeton for the Penn-Princeton game, and I'll probably blog live from courtside at Jadwin.
According to CBS' press release, the roster of attendees at their event includes Gus Johnson, Jim Nantz, Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Dick Enberg and Seth Davis.
A few CBS Sports executives will also be there, along with NCAA Tournament Selection Committee chair Dan Guerrero and the NCAA's head of everything basketball, Greg Shaheen.
With NCAA Tournament expansion among the hottest topics in sports right now, the discussions and interviews should be fascinating.
So come back throughout the day. We've got a lot of ground to cover.
1. Temple, 19 points (7 first-place votes)
- "Call me Judas if you must, but I'm giving Temple the top spot over my alma mater. They deserve it." (Nick Catrambone)
- "I thought about putting Temple in the top spot. I really considered it. But would Temple have been a top-four team in the Big East this year? No way." (Mario Machi)
2. Villanova, 20 points (6 first-place votes)
- "Villanova finished the season with a whimper and still gets my #1 vote. Sure, you can call me a homer, but if you were used to seeing bespoke suits on the sidelines, you'd be thrown off by Bob Huggins' track suit too." (Brian Ewart)
3. Princeton, 65 points
4. Rutgers, 72 points
- "Basketball Prospectus figures that Rutgers has an 8-in-a-million chance of winning the Big East tournament. I'm not sure what else to say here." (Brian O'Neill)
5. Drexel, 80 points
- "11-7 in the CAA is no joke this year. When I do my "Mad-early-S16-voting-for-the-2010/2011-season" in a few weeks, look for Drexel to be way up near the top. You know, kinda like last April, when everyone put UNC as the #1 team in the country for this season." (Nick Catrambone)
6. Penn State, 81 points
7. Lehigh, 87 points
- "So the Patriot League champ will be an S16 member. One day we'll all tell our grandkids about the magical season when we got three S16 teams in the Tournament." (Nick Catrambone)
8. Rider, 107 points
- "No other teams deserve comments." (Mario Machi)
I had to put it somewhere.
9. Lafayette, 111 points
- "How happy do you think Lehigh and Lafayette are that Winthrop won their conference and took the play-in game spot that was destined for the Patriot League?" (Brian O'Neill)
10. Saint Joseph's, 128 points (1 last-place vote)
- "Fine, you beat La Salle. Congratulations, but you still stink." (Nick Catrambone)
- "Martelli was the biggest complainer about having the A-10 tournament in Dayton because he would rather play in front of empty stands rather than give one team an advantage with actual fans in the seats. I was hoping poetic justice would strike, and him and his team would be sent there on Tuesday. Looks like the Hawk dies in Rhode Island instead." (Andrew Melloh)
11. La Salle, 131 points (1 last-place vote)
- "At least Drexel made their conference tournament." (Brian O'Neill)
12. Bucknell, 150 points (1 last-place vote)
13. Delaware State, 163 points (1 last-place vote)
- "And the Oscar goes to the Hornets for best acting like a 16-win basketball team." (Jeff Shafer)
14. Delaware, 179 points (2 last-place votes)
- "Jawan Carter should get a trophy for iron man of the year. Nobody played more minutes for their team, and he went 40+ 15 times." (Jeff Shafer)
15. Monmouth, 186 points (4 last-place votes)
- "It's really not fair that Monmouth stays this high in my rankings. They should be a lot lower but I just hate too many other teams too much and refuse to give them any respect. Monmouth gets rewarded in my ballot because I'm completely emotionless about them." (Nick Catrambone, who voted the Hawks 10th)
16. Penn, 189 points (3 last-place votes)
- "If Penn gives Allen the permanent nod at coach, I demand that a Big 5 Suit-Off be instituted at halftime of next year's Villanova/Penn game. "(Brian Ewart)
"Is it too late to write in 26-2 Harcum? Having seen them play recently, I'm fairly certain they could beat at least 25 percent of these teams." (Jon Solomon)
"I'm writing in Towson at 16 instead of Delaware on the basis of my discovery that at least one person picked Towson in the 'Send it in Jerome Invitational.' Nobody was foolish enough to think that Delaware had a shot."(Brian Ewart)