It wasn’t supposed to end this way. A number one seed losing to a number eight seed. A team that the President of the United States had picked to make it to the National Championship game against Kentucky.
Two days after one of the team’s best performances of the year it all came crashing down last night as NC State beat number one seed Villanova in the round of 32 by three points.
As you might expect, people were divided on the outcome. Many people, including this Villanova band member whose tears while playing the piccolo went viral, were quite disappointed, thinking this was the year for Villanova to go deep into the tournament. Others were just as happy to say that it proved their belief that Villanova was overrated.
But one thing I would hope everyone could agree on was the class and poise that Coach Jay Wright showed after the disappointing .
Here are some of the things Jay had to say:
““You’ve got to own it, and we own it. We didn’t get it done. But not from any lack of effort or commitment. We know what comes with that. We know questions are going to come next year.”
“We know that upset is a big story. It’s part of being a big-time athlete. So you’ve got to take it, you’ve got to deal with it and you’ve got to own it. But it’s not easy. It’s part of life though.”
“We’ve got to start all over again and then try to get there [again]. I would love to be in the position again where people say, ‘They were in this position last year and they failed.’ It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back in this position.”
“We try to teach the guys, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have 20,000 people cheering for you and then when you lose, everybody feels sorry for you. That’s just not life. And that’s what college basketball is all about. Dealing with life. Dealing with failure. And not being afraid to fail.”
“We failed here, but we don’t fear it,” Wright said. “It’s something you’ve got to deal with in life, but if you’re the one that put it all on the line and you failed, you’ve got to be proud of being the one that put it on the line out there.”
And in the dressing room after the game, Coach Wright told his players, ““This doesn’t define you as men.”
Coach Wright is correct that the loss did not define his players as men, but the way they handled themselves after the game certainly did.
Thank you Coach Wright and members of the men’s basketball team for a great season, one for the record books. You were a pleasure to watch both on and off the court and great role models for student athletes everywhere.
You made me proud to be part of Nova Nation.