Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Villanova coach Jay Wright keeps a calm perspective as Georgetown looms

                               Photo Credit: Geno Green

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Individuals in everyday life tend to follow that very path, but for sports teams, the opposite tends to happen.

The top-seeded Villanova Wildcats are in a position to do something four other teams have done (Georgetown, 1984 and 1985, Connecticut, 1998 and 99, Syracuse, 2005 and 06 and Louisville, 2012 and 13) — repeat as BIG EAST Tournament champions.

As much as Wildcats coach Jay Wright desires the opportunity of going back-to-back, winning the tournament one time can be program-changing experience.

Before last season's tournament championship, Villanova went 20 seasons without sniffing success.

"Just winning it once is huge to us because we are a Northeastern University and have a big alumni network in [New York] and going up there is for us and we love playing at Madison Square Garden," Wright said in Monday's BIG EAST Teleconference.

With the BIG EAST in its third season in a 10-team format, Villanova has become the face of the league with three consecutive regular season titles, on top of last season's tournament crown.

"What we have done in the BIG EAST has been historical for us," Wright said. "This is what we have always been a part of and take great pride in doing."

Since joining in 1980, one season after the conference was founded by the late Dave Gavitt, being a part of the tournament at Madison Square Garden is more than just a game, but a way of life.

"Being in Manhattan for a week makes it huge deal for us because for 35 seasons, this has been a big part of the Villanova culture," Wright said.

Looking Ahead:

Villanova opens its tournament run on Thursday against longtime rival Georgetown at Noon ET.

Both regular season meetings went the way of the Wildcats (55-50, away on Jan. 16 and 84-71, home on March 5).  

This will be the second meeting between the two teams in five days.

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