Nova Nation thrilled to be back in Sweet 16

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From the very beginning it was clear the Wildcats wouldn't have a problem handling No. 7 Iowa in the round of 32. (WPVI)

From the very beginning it was clear the Wildcats wouldn't have a problem handling No. 7 Iowa in the round of 32.

"This is a pretty impressive run for them right now. So I'm pretty happy they're doing this well," said Nora Lloyd, student.

The Belle Air Terrace at the Connelly Center on Villanova's campus was packed with students Sunday, watching intently. After all, the team hasn't advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2009.

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Only Action News was there Sunday night as the Villanova Wildcats basketball team arrived home with smiles on their faces.

"I would like to see us go to the Final Four. Elite Eight would be awesome," said David Capriotti, student. "Sweet 16 by itself I think is a big deal for us."

Many students had been hoping for an all-Philly showdown this round.

PHOTOS: Villanova vs. Iowa watch party

"I know a lot of people were looking forward to a Temple-Villanova matchup, and that would have been really scrappy and interesting," said Zach Hogan, sophomore.

But everyone was happy to watch the Wildcats dominate the Hawkeyes, surrounded by students.

"Every student is here, and it's just great to be surrounded by your fellow classmates and fellow Villanova lovers, obviously," said Alex Riceman, sophomore.

There were even some brand new basketball fans like a student we spoke with from Ireland, who was visiting his sister.

"It's totally alien to me. College sports isn't this big at home. You don't get as much of a following," said Fionn Buttner of Dublin, Ireland. "There would never be anything like this in a student lounge or a student bar so it's great to see the passion."

Those passionate students stayed until the very end, thrilled with an 87-86 final score, and a trip to the Sweet 16.

"It's amazing. The past couple years we've been stuck in the second round. But it feels awesome now," said Andrew Goldstein, sophomore.

Now Nova fans have their sights set on Louisville. Villanova plays No. 3 Miami in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

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