Villanova coach Rollie Massimino finally can kick off his shoes and relax a while.
His Wildcats all but wrapped up a sixth consecutive NCAA tournament bid last night with a 69-61 victory over Pitt in the first round of the Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
On the day they decided which 64 college basketball teams would play in the NCAA tournament, joy and sadness and pride and passion and prejudice and power - especially power - were on display for all to see.
Villanova center Ed Pinckney has been watching the promos for the NCAA tournament on ESPN.
And the Wildcats' 6-9 senior has gotten hooked on a feeling after hearing the sound track that accompanies the ad campaign.
As the wiseacre kid in "Risky Business" kept saying, sometimes you just have to say what the hell (liberal translation).
Harold Jensen set himself on the right wing of Villanova's spread offense, score tied, 49-49, 1:10 remaining against Dayton on Dayton's homecourt in the first round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
The "D-Train" is running and the next stop is Birmingham, Ala.
Villanova senior forward Dwayne "D-Train" McClain was back on track yesterday, scoring 20 points as the Wildcats derailed second-ranked Michigan, 59-55, in the second round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
From the beginning, they played as if they were the keepers of a deep, delicious secret.
Ed Pinckney looked up and saw no Patrick Ewing or Bill Wennington, looming 7 feet above ground. That was a plus.
Admit it. Eddie Pinckney has not always received the credit he deserved during his marvelous career at Villanova.
It is tough to seize center stage in the Big East when you play in the same league as Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin. But, the talented 6-9 senior center has put the Wildcats in a rare position to reach the NCAA Final Four.
It is the first weekend of spring, and the three Villanova kids are still playing basketball.
They have done this before.
Eddie Pinckney, eyes bulging, mouth agape, rising straight up and then, somehow, hanging ...
Snapshots from a victory (Villanova 56, North Carolina 44, NCAA Southeast Regional, March 24, 1985):
There was The Pasta Speech.
Halftime in Villanova's room was, in the understated, smiling words of Dwight Wilbur, "kind of loud."
The list of people who will watch Gary McLain play basketball this Saturday is positively Olympian.
There's Steve Alford, who made the Olympic team, and Mark Price, who nearly did. And Pearl Washington.
Perhaps Villanova coach Rollie Massimino should call Jim Valvano for some final instructions on how to play Cinderella before the Wildcats meet Georgetown tonight for the NCAA championship at Rupp Arena.
Yea, though they walk through the valley of death, the Villanova Wildcats are going to kick up their heels. Let the world beyond the NCAA championship game know that they have already lit a cigar for their beloved trainer, Jake Nevin, and gone swimming in the best spaghetti sauce Rollie Massimino could find hereabouts.
With all the dire predictions of what mighty, misanthropic Georgetown was supposed to do to Villanova, the date had been forgotten. It was as if everyone was so eager to be done with the ugly business of an NCAA championship execution that the page on the calendar had already been flipped.