Hours before the Eagles would step onto the field for Super Bowl LII trying to end decades of frustration and bring Philadelphia its first pro football championship since 1960, the last local team to actually win a title swung into action.

 

But as rarefied air as the air Jay Wright and Villanova breathes, the Wildcats just keep plugging away game after game.   Like the team that plays across the street from them at the Linc no amount of adversity seems to deter them.

 

Dispatching rugged Seton Hall, 92-76 in yesterday’s high noon Big East showdown to solidify their hold atop the national rankings, the 21-1 Cats keep responding to every challenge. In this

 

No one more than 6-8 redshirt freshman Omari Spellman, who had the game of his life, scoring 26 points—including six 3-pointers—grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. 

 

“When we recruited him he was a perimeter player so this isn’t any surprise,” said Wright, after Spellman drained a pair of threes down the stretch that helped turn a 62-60 nail-biter into a 90-69 blowout.  “He’s grown into a big rebounder and post player, so this is really natural for him. But I’ve never coached a more complete big man who has his size and strength. And he’s just going to keep getting better, too.”

 

Spellman says it’s more a credit to the guys around him. 

“I think it’s a testament to my teammates,” said Spellman, who shot 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, while everyone else went just 6-for-22. “You have to worry about Jalen (21 points) and Mikal (17) and Donte  DiVincenzo (13) and sometimes they (the opposition) pick me. “But I can shoot.”

The Hall learned that the hard way here yesterday, as the last local team from this area continued to make a statement this might be their year, too.  That’s why Villanova woke up today knowing they’re deservedly on top.

Throughout the Delaware Valley everyone else was hoping and praying they had company.