Philly MadnessMarch 18, 2014 | by Brooke Willmes
While the lingering weather cannot accept that spring is right around the corner, the annual tradition of challenging your work friends over who is the better basketball prophet is here to distract from the cold. March Madness has officially begun, and local teams Villanova and Saint Joseph’s are ready to represent Philadelphia in the tournament. As the next few weeks of the tournament transpire, here is what Philly fans can look forward to:
Villanova took the Big East regular season crown, but stumbled early in their conference tournament. Sitting as a No. 2 seed in the East Region, the Wildcats have a fairly decent path to the Final Four and beyond, with Vegas giving them an 18/1 odds to grab the championship title. First up for Villanova is No. 15 seed,Wisconsin Milwaukee, to be played on Thursday, March 20th in Buffalo, New York (9:25 PM ET, TBS). Wisconsin-Milwaukee won the Horizon League conference championship to lock up their bid and will be on full upset-minded alert when they face Villanova. Wisconsin-Milwaukee has played the upset card before when they took down No. 4 Boston College in 2005 to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
If Villanova is successful against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, they will meet the winner of the Connecticut-Saint Joseph’s contest. After grabbing the Atlantic 10 conference tournament, Saint Joseph’s made their way to the tournament as a No. 10 seed. Coming off a six-year drought since their last tournament appearance, the Hawks will have to be careful not to underestimate No. 7 seed Connecticut. Connecticut’s suffocating defense sets up an intriguing match-up for Saint Joseph’s high- percentage offense. The game will also be played in Buffalo on Thursday, March 20th (6:55 PM ET, TBS).
If all goes in favor for both the Wildcats and the Hawks, Philly fans can look forward to the Holy War, the often referred to rival between Villanova and Saint Joseph’s. Villanova blasted Saint Joseph’s by 30 points earlier in the season, and bragging rights and a berth to the Sweet Sixteen in New York City will be on the line. Villanova has a 42 to 24 edge in the all time series against Saint Joseph’s, but statistics and bogus math can be thrown aside during the tournament, because nothing is ever guaranteed during this time of year. This potential match-up will be played out on Saturday, March 22nd your best picks, and then sit back and try not to pull out your hair if and when the complete opposite unfolds.