Villanova Mentality: Nova Nation cautiously optimistic

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Students at Villanova are ready to cheer on the Wildcats in Round One. (WPVI)

The NCAA March Madness Men's Basketball Tournament kicks off today.

The Villanova Wildcats take on the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers tonight in the First Round.

And Nova Nation is ready.

At the Connelly Center, the student union, students were gathering to compare their brackets.

"It's amazing. They got all this stuff going on in the Connelly Center. I just ordered food and it's all good," freshman Ben Bock said.

Some remember last year's buzzer beater that clinched the national championship and now expect a repeat.

"It is a fun time and you're also a little scared because you want to have that same feeling again and it's a lot of pressure," junior Juwan Rainer said.

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The Villanova Wildcats take on the Mount Saint Mary's Mountaineers tonight in Round One.



"I have the same feeling going into the tournament last year as I do right now," sophomore Erin McKenna said.

So no question about it?

Sophomore T.J. Comizio says, "I don't know about no question. I hope so. I think. I think they got this one in the bag."

Villanova students range from totally confident to cautiously optimistic that the No. 1 seeded Wildcats will return to campus as champs.

"We have a lot of guys coming back this year. As far as the core of the team, it's all still there. The freshman are stepping up. Everybody's excited to play. I am really excited for the game," senior Anthony Marone said.

Students have organized activities to go along with the games and the Connelly Center is expected to be crowded for a watch party tonight.

"We put together this awesome like student party where students can watch the game, get stuff, free giveaways, free food," sophomore Eriny Tewfik said.

Inside Villanova's University Shop, employees are stocking up.

"We've seen a lot of foot traffic in the last few days, especially with us being closed on Tuesday, we saw increased traffic on Monday and yesterday in the store with students and alumni coming in, buying as much gear as they can," Aaron Levin of the University Shop said.

Big East championship merchandise just came in fresh off the Wildcats win and the men will debut new 'Villanova Mentality' shirts on the bench tonight.



"They're replacing the 'Always Repping' Villanova shirts last year that they wore on the bench," Levin said.

Students say it can be tough to focus on academics when the Wildcats are winning, but they said professors are fairly understanding. No doubt about it, it's an exciting time to be on campus.

Tip-off is at 7:10 p.m.

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