Over the past several weeks, the Eagles and Phillies have dominated the Philadelphia sports scene. Of course, this makes sense considering the headlines that they have submitted to our fair nation. But, now that the Eagles have proven beyond all shadows of a doubt that their season is over and it is still months until baseball season, I suggest paying attention to the basketball team from Villanova University.
The Cats are currently ranked 4th in the country in both the AP and Coaches' polls. They are 5-0 including two nice early season victories over current #8 (then #5 Oklahoma) and a fiesty Bucknell team that has quickly gained a reputation for knocking off their biggest opponents. Success and expectations early in the season don't necessarily translate to success in March, of course, but it is my thought that this team has what it takes to make a run at the whole thing.
Led by guards Allan Ray, Randy Foye, Mike Nardi, and Kyle Lowry, this team is quick. They can pressure anybody, force turnovers, and make moves on defenders like you've never seen before. They know how to put up a bunch of points in a hurry and they have just enough presence inside to be a force with Jason Fraser and Will Sheridan.
Also, they've already proven that they can play in the big game. In actuality, they beat North Carolina in the tournament last year, only to have their victory erased by the worst call in basketball since the 1972 Summer Olympics. If that call hadn't been made, it is reasonable to think that they would have been a Final Four team last year.
Jay Wright has this team on the right track. Not only do they have the talent, they will most certainly be prepared for tough competition later in the year. Their schedule this year includes the afore mentioned games against Oklahoma and Bucknell, Big Five games against St. Joe's, Penn, and Temple, conference games against #5 Louisville (twice), #3 Connecticut (twice), Syracuse (twice), and West Virginia, and a non-conference game in January against #2 Texas.
This could be a special year on the Main Line. I suggest that you follow the Cats.