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Monday Morning Michelle Column: In the midst of madness, ‘Nova delivers an imperfect game

(USA Today images)

(USA Today images)



Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Good morning!   If you happened to be on Twitter this weekend, you are well aware of what’s been trending as far as sports go.  For those of you who might have missed all the fun, here is a recap of what’s been trending.  Clearly it was March Madness that topped the trends.  Throughout the weekend various teams and players hit the trend board.  In the midst of madness, sixteen teams in the NCAA tournament have advanced to the third round.  Winners and losers were trending all weekend long.  The sixteen teams that will advance to the next round include: Notre Dame, Wichita State, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, Xavier, Gonzaga, UCLA, Louisville, N.C. State, Duke, Utah, Oklahoma, and Michigan State.  Wait, UCLA has advanced? Yep, even though some experts in the sports world felt that the UCLA men’s basketball team did not deserve to be in the tournament, somehow they managed to be part of the Sweet Sixteen.  I am not one of those who felt UCLA did not deserve to be there, but then again I am not qualified to make that assertion.  Oh, and where oh where is Villanova?  The No. 1 seed, predicted by many to be among the Final Four, did not advance to the Sweet Sixteen.  Talk about madness!! One can only imagine what it might feel like to be a member of the Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team, whose hearts were likely so heavy when they left the court after what many in the sports world described as a shocking loss to N.C. State.

Things looked bad for Villanova early on.  I happened to be watching the game, and communicating with my sister-in-law, Kathy via DMs on Twitter, throughout the game.  My brother Greg, Kathy’s husband, is a Villanova alum, and about three quarters of the way through the game, Kathy told me he had turned it off.  According to Kathy, Greg just couldn’t bear to watch any more.  My son also roots for Villanova, because his dad is another proud ‘Nova alum.  My son grew up wearing Villanova apparel, and his first baby bottle was printed with paws.  After the game, the text on my son’s phone from his dad read, “Another lost season.”  What happened to Villanova?  Were they were ranked too high, or was it just not their night?  To quote my son, “They just can’t seem to win when they get to the tournament.”  An interesting commentary, written by Dennis Deitch of the Delaware County Times, posed the question, “What now?” in an article he wrote wherein he describes ‘Nova’s most recent loss as, “head-scratching.”

According to Mike McCoy, a Sports Anchor/ Reporter who tweets under the handle, @MikeMcCoySports, and graduated from LaSalle University, things could have been much worse for ‘Nova.  He tweeted that “N.C. State did not capitalize nearly as much as they should have.” In his opinion “Villanova [ was ] dead cold on offense.”  He was right.  Those who follow Mike on Twitter were told early on that Villanova was in trouble.  When I noticed Mike’s dismal prediction so early, I knew he might be on to something.  The Wildcats were blah.  There did not seem to possess that ‘it factor’ of a championship team.   I’ve followed Mike McCoy for awhile now, and recall his keen awareness when he was a guest on one of the sports talk radio shows I work with.  Only I did not want to believe he was right plus I felt it might have been a bit too early to predict impending doom.  Afterall in the midst of madness I am well aware that anything can happen.  That being said, I knew it looked bleak for Nova. Mike’s prediction of an upset was right on.  Villanova never showed up.  They simply could not get it together.   The final score of the game was 71-68.  That score does not provide a good indication of how the game went down.  Although in the end it was relatively close, and the outcome could have gone either way if Villanova scored one more time, N.C. State dominated the entire game.  Villanova was always playing catch up, and N.C. State had a commanding lead for most of the game.

A loss like that is tough on the fans, and for those who chose Villanova to be among the Final Four in their brackets.  Yet, it must be even tougher for the players, and the coach.  I can only imagine what the players must feel after a loss like that.  It has got to be such a let down after being part of a team that wins its division, earns the No. 1 seed, and does not advance to the Sweet Sixteen.  In addition, Coach Jay Wright might be having a tough time dealing with the outcome.  The feelings of dismay and sadness for all those who passionately root for ‘Nova to return to glory, ended up being captured in a picture that needn’t say a thousand words.  The photo of the Villanova band member, tweeted out by many of those who had watched the game, including ESPN’s @SportsCenter.  It showed a member of Villanova’s marching band, a young lady with tears streaming down her face.  That photo pretty much summed up the loss and this past weekend’s top trend, which was none other than the imperfect game.


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Michelle has been a sports writer and analyst for many years. Now, as host of Neutral Court, sponsored by In The Zone, Michelle brings a new sports topic to the debate floor with each episode.
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