4:08 PM / Sunday July 3, 2022

24 Mar 2016

This Weekend, The Madness Comes To Philly

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
March 24, 2016 Category: Sports Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Iowa’s Mike Gesell (10) watches as Villanova’s Jalen Brunson (1) runs the fast break during the first half of a second-round men’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

While hometown favorite Villanova will be playing its NCAA Tournament games in Louisville, Philadelphia’s College Basketball fans will still have reasons to cheer if history is any guide.

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

The City of Brotherly of Love will be at the center  of the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 universe this  weekend. 

The Wells Fargo Center will host the East Regional semifinals and finals on Friday and Sunday to determine which team will go to the Final Four to be played in April 2 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

But before things tip off at the Center, Villanova the No. 2-seed in the South Region took on the South region’s No. 3-seed, the University of Miami Hurricanes (27-7) Thursday night in the regional semifinals in Louisville. It was the first Sweet 16 appearance for the Wildcats since 2009 when the team went to the Final Four. That game hadn’t been played at press time.

If the Wildcats are victorious over Miami, they would face the winner of the game between the South’s No. 1-seed, the Kansas Jayhawks and the Maryland Terrapins, the region’s No. 5-seed in Saturday’s South Regional Final.

Friday night at the East Regional will be a ACC-Big Ten Challenge. In the first game, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, the region’s No.6 seed, will take on the 7th seeded  Wisconsin Badgers. The nightcap will feature the East’s No. 1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels vs the 5th ranked Indiana Hoosiers.

Though most of the fans coming to the Wells Fargo Center to  see Friday’s set of games, they were no doubt hoping they could see the Wildcats make their bid for the Final Four right here in the city. Some college basketball experts believed that had Villanova won its conference tournament, their Sweet 16 games would have been home games.

But the fact that there will be no home teams on the floor at the Wells Fargo Center isn’t going to take away from the excitement and the promise of great basketball that awaits those coming to the East Regional. In the storied history of the NCAA Tournament, South Philly has been the scene of the sport’s greatest moments.

Perhaps the most memorable NCAA Tournament Philadelphia moment occurred back in 1992 when Duke and Kentucky played each other in the East Regional final at the old Spectrum a little under a 100 yards away from the Well Fargo Center.

In a 1992 Regional Final game at the Spectrum that went to overtime, Duke’s Christian Laettner took a long pass from teammate Grant Hill and hit the game-winning shot against the Kentucky Wildcats with time running out. It  was a dramatic ending to a game that several lead changes and more ebbs and flows than a Russian novel. 


Two of the teams playing in one of Friday’s East Regional semifinal-Indiana and North Carolina played in the 1981 national championship on the same day that President Ronald Reagan was shot.  In that game, fans saw the rise of a young Isaiah Thomas, who was the most outstanding player of the Final Four that year.   

Philadelphia was also the final destination for the 1976 Indiana team that not only won the national championship, but also finished the season unbeaten. It was the last time a Division One college basketball team finished the season without a loss.

In the 1980 East Regional semifinal, Georgetown came of age by beating crosstown D.C. rival Maryland and advanced to the Elite Eight. The Hoyas had beaten Terrapins earlier that season, but no one gave them a chance to win the rematch at the Big Dance.

Not only did Georgetown win the rematch, but it also put head coach John Thompson and the Hoyas in the national spotlight for the first time.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


Just the beginning

July 1, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Over 150,000 people from around the country participated in the Mass Poor Peoples...


The fine print

July 1, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email While we do need to pay attention to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s...


Community College of Philadelphia to pay off $1.4 million in outstanding student account balances

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Community College of Philadelphia announced that it will pay off more than $1.4...

Color Of Money

Americans still have financial goals, just not sure how they will reach them

June 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT If you have a vision for where you’d like to be financially...


Takeaways: Trump’s mind ‘made up’ on fraud ahead of Jan. 6

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A video exhibit plays as the House select committee investigating the...

Go With The-Flo

Sherri Shepherd’s talk show, “Sherri,” to air in place of former “The Wendy Williams Show”

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Sherri Shepherd (Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony After 13...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff