NCAA Pants Party: Villanova Vs. Monmouth

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Villanova Wildcats (25-4) vs. Monmouth Hawks (19-14).
When: Friday, 2:50 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia



1. Wired, '85. Most people think of Villanova s 1985 victory over Georgetown as the seminal moment in the school's history; the HBO special that runs on a constant loop during March Madness also ranks it up there as one of the NCAA tournament's greatest games. But the game took somewhat of a hit to its historic lure when guard Gary McLain came out in an 18-page Sports Illustrated essay in March 1987 describing his Belushi-esque cocaine habit during that fateful season. McLain said he was clean for the Championship game — which is good, considering he played the entire game — but during the Memphis State game in the Final Four? Lit up like a firecracker. It wasn't until last year during the team's 20th anniversary of the season that McLain was reunited with his teammates and coaching staff — clean, sober and, not surprisingly, pretty pudgy.

2. The "Alive" Moment. On the way back from an overtime victory against Providence on Jan. 11, 2005, the Wildcats endured a hellish plane ride home that resulted in an emergency landing back on Providence's icy runway. This was not typical turbulence; the plane shook violently for the first 10 minutes and, according to then-junior guard Randy Foye, besides the sickening plane-rattle, all that was heard was "the sound of people crying." In a longer article published in the Philadelphia Daily News weeks after the incident, coach Jay Wright described manning the emergency exits, sobbing stewardesses and the pilot making an announcement that everyone should prepare for a crash landing. They did land safely, and, in what was called a galvanizing moment for the team, every member boarded a plane the next day to make the trip to Georgetown, which many players and coaching staff said was the hardest thing they ever had to do. But they did.

3. Jay Wright s A Stud: He not only incites curious man-crushes from the likes of Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale (every time they comment on how "well dressed" he is, that's old white guy-speak for "I d do him."), but he's also caused many a co-ed on Villanova's Main Line campus to take notice as well. In addition to the boy band-like reception he received as students stormed the court after Nova beat then No. 1 Connecticut last month, Wright also has his own devoted group of female students called "Jay s Angels," who watch all the Nova games together in their dorm room with the same fervency as "O.C." fans. - A.J. Daulerio


1. It's A Reality TV Training Ground. Life in the jungles of West Long Branch prepared alumni Stephenie LaGrossa and Katie Gallagher, both 2002 graduates, for their stints on Survivor: Palau. Gallagher finished second.


2. Monmouth NBA Trivia. Quick: Name the only Monmouth player to ever play in the NBA. Come on ... anybody? Bah! Time's up! The answer of course is Alex Blackwell. (And you call yourself a NBA fan.) Yeah, an early 90's NEC All-Star forward, Blackwell signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1992-93 season. His performance? Not so hot. In 27 games, Blackwell scored 34 points, snagged 22 rebounds and smoked 8 packs of Marlboro's with Vlade Divac. True story.

3. Coach, We Need A Three. Get In There. Coach Dave Calloway, a former Monmouth Hawk and Northeast Conference (NEC) All-Star, use to really love the long ball. Not only does Calloway still hold every single 3-point shooting mark in school history, but he even managed to lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage in '89, nailing 42-of-82 shots from downtown. So, yeah, if we find the Hawks down big in the 2nd half — and I'm sure we will — don't be surprised if Coach Calloway loosens the tie, subs himself in, and just gets "hotter than a pistol" from deep. — J.E. Skeets and Dan Cordella


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