Villanova Is 2 In 3 And Still #1 In My Heart

Villanova Is 2 In 3 And Still #1 In My Heart

What other team can win the title in 4.7 seconds? Let me know.

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ESPN brackets were released Sunday evening, after Selection Sunday. I must admit, though I know we did not have the outstanding season we had last season, seeing the Villanova Wildcats seeded at number 6 broke my heart a little. What broke my heart, even more, was selecting a different team to tear down the net in Minneapolis. But, after 3 years of basketball excellence under Big East Coach of the Year Jay Wright, the Wildcats are not looking like the favored champions this tournament season.

I'm as big of a basketball fan as anyone else at this University: we live and breathe basketball, anxiously waiting on the edge of our seats for the student ticket lottery to open in November and cheering on the Cats from October through April. The campus comes alive and even students watching the game from their dorm room are dressed in blue and white. When the Villanova Wildcats played in the National Championship Game last year, students and alumni watched from all over the country, from the University's official game watch in the Connelly Center to private homes across the country of long-time friends to the nosebleed seats of the Alamodome in San Antonio.

When the buzzer sounded and Villanova's 79 ­– 62 victory over the University of Michigan was finalized, campus erupted. Tears were shed, strangers were hugged, and Villanova University was once again the NCAA National Champions for the second time in three years. Following the victory, four of the starting players were drafted into the NBA. This season, while the team has still performed well, it does seem as though another national championship is not in the stars for us.

Returning to the tournament we dominated last year as the sixth seed with our victory against 11-seed Saint Mary's College up in the air is not a fun feeling. Coupled with the fact that everyone and their mom LOVES to remind us of our improbable loss to Michigan in the Championship rematch, it's hard to fill out the NCAA bracket and put Villanova past the Round of 32 (there, I said it, so you don't have to). My friends and I feel the need to follow up our projected winners with "but Villanova will be back next year to dominate, this is an offseason, we lost four guys to the NBA, we were never going to do as well as last year," in order to justify why we haven't selected our National Champions to win.

Despite knowing that it will feel like my heart has caved in when we inevitably lose to a team whose mascot is far inferior to our own Will D. Cat, I believe that this is what we say it is: a year to rebuild and restructure. Banking on seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall to play almost all forty minutes in every game is impractical, and those losses should come as no shock to any Villanova fan (and if it does, why don't you spring up and down the basketball court for close to two hours and let me know how well you play). Even with the unprecedented number of losses to even more surprising teams, the Villanova Wildcats emerged as the Big East tournament AND Conference Champions for the 2018-2019, Head Coach Jay Wright received the Big East Coach of the Year award and we were still seeded above the midpoint in the Southern conference in the NCAA 2019 Tournament.

So, let the haters hate. Yeah, we had an off-season. But we can't be expected to win the championship every year — that's just unfair to the other teams! And, in my own humble, unbiased opinion, this off-season wasn't that bad! We still won the Big East tournament — for the third year in a row, which is the first time that has happened in the tournament's history and are building up a strong base for the future of Villanova basketball. And, in case anyone needed a reminder: we still won two national championships in the past three years, and we did one in 4.7 seconds.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And Christian Yelich Have Put Milwaukee Back On The Map

Two small market teams making sure the world knows who they are

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"MVP" is currently being chanted around the city of Milwaukee and the people of Milwaukee aren't just talking about one person. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. Giannis is on the path to winning this year's NBA MVP and Yelich, who happened to win the NL MVP last year, is showing no doubts on potentially becoming this year's MVP as well.

Both the Bucks and the Brewers have struggled in the past few years. The Bucks finished their 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. On top of that, they have been playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the past couple of decades. The Bradley Center was intentionally built for hockey and not basketball so attending games for the Bucks sometimes had you in the nosebleeds barely seeing what was going on on the court. The Bucks struggled after their 2013-2014 season with records of 41-41 (2014-2015) and 33-49 (2015-2016). Now, the Bucks have recently finished their regular season and moved to the playoffs. From 15-67 just five years ago, to now 60-22 which gave them the best record in the NBA, the number one seed in the East and home-court advantage, Giannis has proved himself as potentially one of the greatest players the NBA and the Bucks franchise will ever see.

The Bucks now have a new arena that opened this season, Fiserv Forum, which is built specifically for the Bucks (and Marquette) instead of hockey. Looking back on the Bucks in their previous years compared to now, the Bucks have sold out every single game this season. Something Milwaukee never thought they would see from being a small market team. From my experience, while working for the Bucks, you can see the difference in the crowd and feel their enthusiasm and excitement radiating off of the fans. And this is all thanks to Mr. Antetokounmpo who is making his mark here in Milwaukee. Giannis has won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December, February and March/April and even earned his spot as Eastern Conference captain for the All-Star game this year. Giannis may be considered in his prime right now, but he is only 24-years-old which means he has plenty of time to only make himself better.

The Brewers had won the NL Central Divison back in 2011 but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. After that, they struggled a bit and haven't won the title since until last year in 2018. He brought the Brewers to the NLCS last season, but unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yelich had 36 home runs last season and already has eight (as of 4/16/19) this season. He happens to be a great right fielder as well. In last night's (4/15/19) game against the Cardinals, Yelich alone scored three home runs.

Miller Park has been filling up more and more each game of Brewers fans. Being a small market team like their cross-city friends, the Bucks, bringing home an MVP title as well as a division title, it makes everyone aware of their greatness and dedication. The season may have just started back up again, but there is no doubt, if Yelich and his teammates keep playing like they are right now, they will have another shot of making it to the World Series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich have brought and will continue to bring excitement and greatness to Milwaukee which is something the city hasn't seen in a while. This era of sports will surely be remembered for a long time by the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

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