Happy Saturday Nova Nation! I’m putting in some weekend hours to bring you an extra-special CHAMPIONSHIP edition of the Arizin as we prepare for what should be another classic Villanova vs Seton Hall matchup in the garden. If you didn’t stay up for it last night, the Pirates got put through the ringer last night in an intense game against Marquette. But in the end, I think we got the matchup we all wanted. Yes, the Golden Eagles are very good and could have been a better resume win. But if you want the definition of Big East basketball since realignment, look no further than Villanova vs Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden.
In the last five seasons, these two rivals have faced off three times. All of those games were decided by two points or less, and all ended in dramatic fashion. While Villanova has owned this rivalry overall since realignment (11-4), they’re just 1-3 against Seton Hall in the month of March. Today we take a look at the three of those games that took place at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament as we prepare for tonight’s Championship.
2014 – BET Quarter-Final, 1) #3 Villanova vs 8) Seton Hall
Villanova had earned the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament for just the second time in school history. The last time they were in that position in 1982, they crushed 8th seeded Seton Hall 88-73. Villanova fans thought this would go much the same way as the Wildcats were ranked #3 in the country, but Seton Hall came to play. The Pirates upset Villanova 64-63 on a step-back dagger by Sterling Gibbs to kick off what’s become one of the best rivalries in the “new” Big East.
2016 – BET Championship, 1) #3 Villanova vs 3) Seton Hall
Again Villanova came into their matchup with Seton Hall as the countries #3 team, but this time they were the defending Big East Tournament Champions. Didn’t matter. This is the Garden in March, and anything can happen. Again, Seton Hall got some late game heroics from their star player (this time Isaiah Whitehead) and pulled out a last second victory. However, considering how the rest of that year played out, Villanova fans are happy to live with this defeat.
2017 – BET Semi-Final, 1) #2 Villanova vs 5) Seton Hall
For a third time a ranked Villanova team faced off against unranked Seton Hall, but at this point we know to throw the records out the door. Finally it was Villanova’s turn for some late game heroics, as Josh Hart scored the winning putback basket with under 10 seconds remaining. Seton Hall was unable to convert on the final play, and Villanova got its March victory over the Pirates.
And that brings us to what is sure to be another Big East battle between two great rivals. For the fourth straight BET meeting, Villanova will enter this game as the favorite. The Wildcats will again be ranked in the AP Poll and holding the #1 seed, while Seton Hall again enters unranked. Both teams have super stars capable of hitting a game winning shot, and both coaches know how to beat each other. Clear your schedules, it’s going to be another classic in the Garden.
For today’s game day poll, there’s only one question that matters. Will Villanova win a Big East record third consecutive BET Championship?
Who will win the 2019 Big East Tournament Championship?
1) #25 Villanova Wildcats
3) Seton Hall Pirates
314 votes total
In other news, Kyle Neptune is linked to the George Washington job, Bryan Antoine is also in a Championship game, and Selection Sunday is 24 hours away. Enjoy!
Villanova defeats Xavier
Big East Tournament: Villanova Wildcats vs. Xavier Musketeers basketball | Cincinnati.com
A controversial call at the end of regulation didn’t go Xavier’s way and the Musketeers came up short in overtime Friday night against Villanova.
Villanova rallies to beat Xavier in OT, reach Big East final | Newsday
The top-seeded Wildcats are trying to become the first school in the 40-year history of the Big East to win three straight tournament titles.
Villanova reaches Big East final with comeback overtime win | New York Post
The Villanova Wildcats remain the class of the conference, even after all that talent Jay Wright and Co. sent to the NBA.
Villanova beats Xavier in overtime to earn a chance at a third straight Big East title | The Inquirer
The Wildcats trailed from the 8:23 mark of the first half until Eric Paschall’s tip-in with 7.6 seconds left forced overtime. Paschall and Phil Booth (28 points) carried the Cats in the extra period and they will go for a record third straight title Saturday
Xavier Falls in the Big East Tournament Semis to Villanova, 71-67, in OT: Recap | Banners On The Parkway
Villanova beats Xavier 71-67 in overtime of the Big East Tournament semifinals.
Villanova rallies past Xavier for OT win, advances to 5th straight Big East championship game | NBC Sports Philadelphia
Villanova came back from down seven points with under three minutes left Friday night, beating Xavier, 71-67, and advancing to its fifth straight Big East championship game.
Villanova vs Seton Hall
In Two Different Kinds of Battles, Seton Hall and Villanova Reach Final | The New York Times
The Pirates defeated Marquette in a game that had three ejections and 85 free throws. The defending champion Wildcats needed overtime to beat Xavier.
Big East Championship Game 2019: Villanova vs. Seton Hall Schedule, Preview | Bleacher Report
The Villanova Wildcats are heading to the Big East tournament championship game for the fifth straight year. There, they will look to avenge their defeat in the 2016 title showdown…
Seton Hall, No. 25 Villanova meet again in Big East final | CBSSports.com
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard exhaled. Or tried to.
Seton Hall basketball survives officiating, Marquette in Big East Tournament semifinals | APP
It’s a showdown with Villanova in the final. 5 takeaways
The N.C.A.A. Tournament’s Forgotten Favorite? It’s Villanova | The New York Times
Villanova has won two of the past three national championships and five Big East titles in six years. Yet few consider the Wildcats a top contender.
Greatest national championship buzzer beater: Villanova or N.C. State? | masslive.com
Few college teams have succeeded when the NCAA Tournament crown was on the line, but two teams secured their titles with a buzzer-beating shot.
11 Candidates to Replace Maurice Joseph at George Washington | HERO Sports
Which candidates could George Washington target after firing head coach Maurice Joseph? Villanova’s Kyle Neptune could be a candidate.
Students protest, demand action on climate change | delcotimes.com
RADNOR — About 150 students, professors and others came out for a noontime protest over climate change at Villanova University on Friday.
Class of 2019
No. 1 Ranney earns first-ever trip to TOC final | NJ.com
Four years ago, Ranney became a basketball school. A loaded freshman class can do that. Especially one headed by five-star recruits Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis.
Basketball: Moorestown falls in Tournament of Champions semifinals | Courier Post
Moorestown lit it up early, but Ranney’s defense was lights out the rest of the way as the Quakers fell 62-40 in the Tournament of Champions semifinals
The College Basketball Misery Index | ESPN
March is about celebrating the best in college basketball, but the College Basketball Misery Index seeds which fans feel the worst when March Madness starts.
Texas A&M fires Billy Kennedy after eight seasons | TexAgs
Billy Kennedy is out as the Texas A&M basketball coach after eight seasons. Kennedy’s Aggies followed a 2018 run to the Sweet Sixteen with a 14-18 record and 11th place SEC finish in 2019.
We’re 48 hours from Selection Sunday. Here’s what you need to know | NCAA.com
Selection Sunday 2019 is hours away but there is plenty of basketball to play and even more questions left to answer. Let’s break down the current state of play for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
NCAA tournament bracket 2019: Tips for winning your pool | SI.com
Why lean on statistics when you could imagine which mascots would win in a fight?
College basketball bracketology 2019: Potential bid thieves fended off, but Alabama must now wait | SBNation.com
The Crimson Tide couldn’t build upon Thursday’s win over Ole Miss, even if the national landscape simultaneously helped their cause.
March Madness 2019: Predicting Top Four Seeds and Championship Favorites | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
The race for the four No. 1 seeds at the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament received an unexpected twist on Tuesday…