NOTE: I got the name of the writer who asked Phil Martelli about Villanova fans wrong. See below for the correction.
If you listened to the post-game press conferences from last night, it probably didn't take you too long to figure out that I might have a bit more to say about Phil Martelli's remarks about the atmosphere at the Palestra.
He went there right from the start:
First I want to acknowledge the crowd on both sides. It gives you chills, really, a Saturday night at the Palestra. That's Philadelphia basketball - forget the game, forget the records. The fans on both sides, both teams deserve a tremendous amount of credit for how they supported their teams.
Martelli had more to say when ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil (you might have heard of her), in the house to write a feature, asked for it:
I mean, come on. A Saturday night in January, it's really cold out, they're 4-9 and we're kind of a nondescript 10-7 coming in, and it's full. And people are screaming the whole game. The thing that I love about this, Dana, is mutual respect, and people were cheering for their team. It wasn't one of those one-sided gyms. I didn't hear one time tonight how bald I am. Maybe my wife yelled it one time, but they cheered for their teams. And that, to me, is just Philadelphia. That's what I said to the players: A Saturday night at the Palestra.
As we all know, the Villanova-Penn and Temple-Penn games drew crowds barely half the Palestra's capacity. So I asked Martelli whether the fact that this game was played on a Saturday really made that much of a difference.
It's a big deal... I would say this to you: sure, the night makes a difference. And you're going to back me right here, you're going to put me right into it...
Well, yes. Even though the best time to do this poll is over the summer, when we're all sitting around looking for ways to shoot the breeze and reminisce about long nights in hot gyms that remain only as memories.
But because Martelli went for it, so do we. And this week will be much more fun as a result.
No one has the support we have. I don't care - you could be in any league in this country, in this city, ask anybody. The people that turn out are the St. Joe's people, and they did tonight.
You knew what was coming after that, and I think it was Dom Cosentino of the Bucks County Courier Times who asked it.
(Brendan Quinn of the Bulletin informs me that contrary to what I originally wrote, it wasn't him.)
More fans than Villanova?
For this building, answer your own question. For this building. Is that fair? That's fair. For this building. For this building. Yeah, they'll, they'll - never mind, I'll stop.
And that was the end of the press conference. Great comedic timing if ever there was.
So in honor of Martelli, we pose the question: Which City Six school has the best fans?
Since I figure someone will ask, I'm not just talking about student sections, though obviously that's a big part of it. This is about the complete package at each school. We can vote on student sections another time.
I'll be back tomorrow night with the latest Schuylkill 16 rankings, though the poll will remain in the right rail of the blog all week.
As one one of the other coaches in this town likes to say, the time's yours.