Villanova has a really good, really savvy team that, because it follows the lead of its older players, great guards and Philly state of mind, is rarely overwhelmed. The enormity or moments and atmospheres rarely affect the Wildcats — and I’m telling you, Pitt’s home-court advantage is just different.
That said, the wily Wildcats are about to play a game Saturday before the largest on-campus crowd ever and I’ll be surprised and impressed if Villanova leaves the Carrier Dome with a win.
I know Villanova might be better. They way they shoot, slash and slash-and-shoot can disarm a zone. Maybe the crowd inspires a frenetic pace, which favors Villanova, avoids the zone and then deflates the crowd. Yet having been there and seen a really good WVU team (2006) fall apart at the end of a game it probably whould have won if not for the 25K there, I just can’t see it happening. If it happens, give the Wildcats a 1-seed and move on to figuring out the other three.
And if Syracuse wins, maybe you ought to worry about the precedent this might set. What if the Orange found a way to maximize the crowd size — and by that, I mean “blow 34K out of the water” — one or two or a few times every year?
What if this were to happen soon?
But what if the basketball court could be moved to the middle of the Dome?
“You have to look at all the possibilities,” Sidwell said. “One of the things we’ve prided ourselves on is to be creative and provide new opportunities for our fan base. To do something special with the court is something we’re looking at.”
It’s not pure fan fantasy anymore. The conversation now takes place in the board rooms of SU’s athletic department.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, especially with the great sales in the past and now the sellout with Villanova,” SU executive senior athletic director Scott Sidwell said recently. “We’re looking at it more than we have in the past. We need to look at the possibilities and ramifications of getting the court turned.”
Sidwell said the discussions include SU athletic director Daryl Gross, senior associate athletic director Rob Edson, senior associate athletic director Pete Sala and members of the university’s ticketing and marketing departments.