On a cold, sunny Thursday, a village-worth of Villanova Wildcats fans descended on Center City to celebrate the team’s recent victory over Michigan.
Fans said Nova’s repeat NCAA Championship win will cement their team’s reputation in college basketball.
“It’s tremendous,” said Ryan Disdier, a Nova student from Haddonfield. “Riding the heals of the Eagles Super Bowl run, the 76ers and Flyers playing so well after that, it’s great for our city.”
While the Wildcats 79-62 defeat of the Michigan Wolverines was a more solid victory and less dramatic than their 2016 win over North Carolina, it was still satisfying, fans said.
“You don’t think this is ever going to happen, we got Donte [DiVencenzo] going crazy, Kris Jenkins going crazy last time,” said Danny Jenkins, a Nova student from New Jersey. “The last one was unreal because it was a buzzer beater but this one is just as sweet.”
Villanova coach Jay Wright thanked Philadelphia for celebrating the team in his remarks from the stage during the rally the parade ended with at Dilworth Park.
“We do this so much in Philadelphia now, I thought you guys would be get tired of parades. But no, you showed strong. … We are so proud to be part of this,” Wright said. “This is truly a Philly team.”
Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles’ lengthy march from South Broad Street to the Art Museum, the Wildcats marched a short route that was identical to the one they took when they won the 2016 championship. Revelers donned blue and carried Villanova’s signature blue “Vs” as they lined the streets eager to cheer on their winning team. After their march, around noon, the team stopped by a rally in their honor at Dilworth Park.
— MetroPhilly (@MetroPhilly) April 5, 2018
— Sam Newhouse (@news_haus) April 5, 2018
Mixed feelings on the parade
Not all Philadelphians were keen on the college holding its victory parade in the city.
“I’m actually pissed about this Villanova parade… It’s about to make my commute to class tomorrow extra as hell,” tweeted @_JayyLovee.
“They have streets they can parade around in Villanova PA, why the hell are they getting one in the city?” tweeted @MtAiryMatt.
“I don’t understand why we have to have Villanova championship parades in Philadelphia. The campus is in Villanova, Pa. go over-crowd and dirty up that area. We just got over the Eagles celebration,” tweeted @AdoreHeechul.
But others, like @noelle_marie, were looking forward to the festivities.
“Perks of working downtown: Villanova parade is 2 blocks from my office,” she tweeted. @acelove was also eager for the party to get underway, tweeting “Villanova parade tomorrow + Phillies home opener! Gonna be a great day!”
Some were neutral: “I wonder if the Villanova parade will rival the Eagles parade. At least it will be bigger than trump’s inauguration,” tweeted @deathbedtest.
Additional reporting by Sam Newhouse