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How Villanova gets to Philly in March

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The goal all season has been for Villanova to play the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in March at the Wachovia Center.  By doing this, it would mean the Wildcats are a top four seed.  It would also would mean that with the home crowd behind them and familiarity with the building, Villanova would have a a little extra advantage in the first two rounds.

With about two weeks left in the regular season, things are beginning to clear up about how Villanova would wind up in Philly.

Here’s how it breaks down:

There are four sites that concern Villanova: Philadelphia, Kansas City, Greensboro and Dayton.

There are twelve teams that are in pursuit for games in these spots: Villanova, UConn, Oklahoma, Memphis, UNC, Duke, Pitt, Louisville, Michigan State, Clemson and Wake Forest.

Two of these sites look pretty locked up barring epic collapses.  Those are Kansas City and Greensboro.  Oklahoma and Memphis are closest to the Kansas City site, and with not many other teams close to it and it being very unlikely both teams collapse, that is where they should be.

Things also look pretty clear in Greensboro, where UNC and Duke should wind up.  With the favoritism these schools get, they should be close to home.  However, there is a scenario where this may change, which will be explained later in the post.

Pitt will almost certainly be in Dayton while UConn will be in Philadelphia.

That leaves a spot in Philadelphia and a spot in Dayton for Villanova, Louisville, Michigan State, Clemson and Wake Forest.

Here are the scenarios to how Villanova winds up in Philadelphia:

1) They finish the highest in the eyes of the committee out of those five teams.

2) Louisville finishes ahead of Michigan State, and Villanova is ahead of Wake and Clemson.  The Cardinals would go to Dayton, while the Spartans would go to Minneapolis because they are closer to that site than Philadelphia.  As a result, Villanova would get the spot at the Wachovia Center.  If Michigan State finishes ahead of Louisville and both are ahead of Villanova, the Spartans go to Dayton and the Cardinals go to Philadelphia.

The key for the Wildcats is for Michigan State not to get on a roll and for Villanova to stay ahead of Wake and Clemson. The Wildcats should be rooting hard for a UNC-Duke ACC Final because an appearance by either Wake or Clemson would most likely allow that team to end up in Greensboro while either UNC or Duke would get the second spot in Philadelphia.

A trip to the Big East final would most likely take care of all of this, but even without that, it is clear that there is a distinct possibility that the Wildcats will play at the Wachovia Center.

-David Cassilo

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