So I suppose I deserve to have to write this post:
— Rob Riches (@Riches61) March 18, 2017
— Mike Agrusa (@Copy1Cat) March 18, 2017
Someone check @CrossingBroad to make sure he hasn't off'd himself.
— ErichFiveSevenOh (@EazyDotSheezy) March 18, 2017
@CrossingBroad Ben Franklin Bridge just called. It's waiting.
— Steve (@seasidesteve215) March 18, 2017
I’m forlorn– no way to sugarcoat it. My fandom hurts. That thing that goes off so often as a Philly sports fan – that soul-crushing, unexpected loss thing – went off again yesterday. It’s gone off three of the last four years. Why? Reasons (forgive any typos, my spell check is too sad to care):
1) Wisconsin is really good
Plain and simple. They’re a powerhouse program. I wrote it on Monday— they’ve now been in four consecutive Sweet 16s, 6 out of the last 7, and 10 in 18 years. Worse, they are exactly the sort of team Villanova struggles against– big, slow, can score inside and out. Jay Wright is always complimentary of opponents, but he said it best on Friday– Wisconsin is a bigger, stronger Butler, a team that beat Villanova twice this season. There would’ve been no shame in losing to Wisconsin if this game was played at any other point during the year. Which brings us to…
2) Wisconsin wasn’t an 8 seed
They finished second in the Big 10 (which was admittedly down this year) and made it to the conference championship game. They were ranked as high as number five in the country in the USA Today Coaches Poll, just over a month ago on February 6 (!!!). At the time, their shooters became hampered by a string of leg injuries and the Badgers then lost five of their next six, which sent their ranking, and tournament seeding prospects, plummeting. Still, they bounced back, winning three of their next four, two of them against tournament teams (Minnesota and Northwestern), and made it to their conference championship game, which they lost to Michigan, also a tournament team. The Northwestern game is particularly noteworthy. Wisconsin blew them out by 28 points, 24 hours before the selection committee announced the bracket. And not only did both teams wind up with the same seed, but somehow Wisconsin got placed in the region with the top overall seed. Go fucking figure. It was just as unfair to Wisconsin as it was to Villanova, who ostensibly earned the right, by going 31-3, to not have to face a team as good as Wisconsin until at least the Sweet 16. Both of these teams are (were 😥) too good to have to play each other in a win-or-go-home game on the third day of the tournament. But don’t let me tell you why this was unjust. Let ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan do it: Continue Reading