Friday, July 3, 2015

Who are you rooting against?

A question for the anti-Villanova crowd.

Who are you rooting against?

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The good life. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The good life. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Say you're a fan of a Big 5 school. You're really loyal to your team but you get the meaning and history of the City Series, even if you weren't born yet when the thing was really in its heyday.

You have, to put it one way, a healthy dislike for Villanova. It might vary among you, from the Penn fan who grew up around here to the St. Joe's fan who pouts every time you get stuck in the Pavilion's upper balcony for the Holy War. It's not quite how you view the Cowboys or the Mets, but it's still pretty deep down inside you.

You've heard all this talk over the years about how a nationally-successful Big 5 team increases exposure for Philadelphia basketball, and you might even believe some of it. You spent the weekend listening to Bill Raftery wax lyrical about Fran McCaffery's playing days at Penn, and you know he talks about the Big 5 plenty, and you know he'll be calling Villanova-Duke on Thursday, and you're looking forward to it.

But still, the fact that the Wildcats are in the Sweet 16 yet again is stuck in your craw for some reason.

Which team will you be rooting against?
Villanova
Duke

Maybe it's all the love Jay Wright gets from the media, or it's Temple falling in the first round, or it's the turmoil at Penn, or St. Joe's coming up short this year.

Who knows, but judging from the comments on here over the last few weeks I can tell there's more than a few of you out there.

You've all gotten me to thinking over the last few days, and I have a question for you.

It so happens that Villanova is about to play what is, by just about every measure, the most hated team in all of college basketball. A lot of fans out there would very much like to see Duke go down on Thursday night, and they know after watching Villanova smash UCLA it's a real possibility.

But this isn't ACC country. Having grown up down there, it seems to me that the Blue Devils don't resonate in Philadelphia quite as much as they do even in the rest of the Northeast. So I wonder if maybe some folks around here will put hometown rivalries ahead of the national story.

The question is this: Which team will you be rooting against on Thursday?

There's a poll above and I hope you'll explain your vote in the comments too.

I mean, I could be totally misreading this thing, and if I am please let me know. But my hunch is asking the question this way will give us something to talk about as we wait for the long weekend to arrive.

A reminder that I'll be liveblogging the Villanova-Duke game from Tir Na Nog at 16th and Arch in Center City, with tipoff scheduled for around 10 p.m. I hope you'll join me there for what should be one of the best games of the whole NCAA Tournament.

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Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

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