Aaron Nola, like the rest of the Phillies' starting pitchers, has no illusions about the task that confronts the staff as this season begins with a patched-together offense that might not be any better when the patches come off.
Sam Hinkie is a very smart man. We knew that long before reading the 13-page resignation letter he delivered to 76ers team ownership on Wednesday evening, a rather amazing document that references everything from the teachings of Warren Buffett to the fate of the flightless moa on the south island of New Zealand.
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HOUSTON - Now there is another Villanova team to put on the wall and leave there forever. The long wait since 1985 ended on Monday night on a spotlit court in a football stadium. It ended when a confident forward named Kris Jenkins launched a three-point shot at the buzzer with the score tied and nothing less than the national championship riding on the outcome.
The words on the walls of Villanova's campus practice facility are nothing remarkable. Attitude. Defend. Rebound. Run. Execute. College basketball players at elite programs across the country are bombarded by the same subliminal mantras in their own gyms. Maybe the message sinks in. Maybe it doesn't.
Entering this NCAA tournament, the overriding question was not only whether Villa could still succeed at the time of year when the games are the toughest, but whether the Big East Conference itself was constructed of more than just history and pom-poms.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - There was just about a minute remaining in a hot-shooting first half of Thursday's Sweet 16 game between Villanova and Miami, and there was still some doubt as to which team's offense was going to stay hotter when Kris Jenkins settled the question.
Villanova, for better or worse, is what is known in the college basketball world as a "four-year program." The Wildcats recruit players who, with few exceptions, are going to be around that long. Jay Wright wants to teach a system and impart a culture, and that doesn't happen in the space of a single season or even two.
Bob Ford is an award-winning sports columnist for the Inquirer. He is a four-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work has been cited numerous times by Associated Press Sports Editors judges, and he won an Eclipse Award for outstanding coverage of horse racing. Prior to becoming a columnist at the Inquirer, Ford was the 76ers beat writer for six seasons and then a general assignment feature writer with a specialty in Olympic sports. In 1995, he was designated a fellow of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. Ford has written sports in the Philadelphia area since 1981, when he served as the Phillies beat writer and later as a general sports columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times.