You know I say this all the time. I don’t root: but a part of me is rooting for Villanova tonight.
Hear me out. And don’t get this twisted. Villanova isn’t some Cinderella or crazy underdog. They won the Big East, they annihilated the first five teams they faced in the tourney, and hammered a very good Oklahoma team by 44 in the Final Four. They’re legit.
But they are an underdog. And it seems crazy to say that a team that won their semifinal by 44 is an underdog in the final but they are. And I think Carolina is going to win, because of their size, and their depth and frankly their talent; they just have more of it. A lot more. And now, they’re playing with a little chip on their shoulder because they were written off early in the season and everyone was cracking on them for being soft. That makes them even more dangerous. So, I do think they’ll win.
But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to see Villanova cut em down tonight. Hard to imagine but back in the day I used to vigorously defend Roy Williams when people were crushing him saying he couldn’t win the big one. There was no doubt in my mind that he would; and I said it every chance I could: not a question of it, but a matter of when. Not if, but when. And then he got one. And another one. And if he wins tonight he’s just one of just six coaches to have ever won three or more and he blows right by his mentor Dean Smith.
And now I’m here to take up for Jay Wright: incredibly, there are still questions as to whether or not this guy is an elite coach. Garbage. He’s a two time National Coach of the Year. He’s won 4 Big East titles. He’s approaching 500 wins, has been to two final fours and has a real good look at winning it all this year, without a potential NBA first rounder on his roster: don’t tell me this guy isn’t a great coach. Nor does he have to win tonight to be considered one.
The reason I’d like to see Villanova win is they’re not Carolina: never will be and don’t want to be. North Carolina is a supernova; a monster. One of the premiere programs in the history of the sport and maybe the best in the country right now. Villanova is the best in Philadelphia. They don’t have Carolina’s tradition, they don’t have their facilities and they don’t have their athletes. Again, I’m not here to make them out to be some mid-major; they’re not. But they’re not Carolina.
And I’m sure Jay Wright has had countless opportunities to go elsewhere, but he hasn’t, and for that reason, and the others I mentioned, I’d love to see him get his. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will tonight, because I think Carolina has too much, but I’d love to see it happen. It’s not David taking down Goliath, it’s not even Villanova taking down Georgetown. But it would be a hell of a story, and I admit it, I’d like to see it.
This post brought to you by Jim Rome.