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Editor at Large

Philly college hoops in turmoil

​​​​​Masked by Villanova's 2016 national championship and top seed in this year's NCAA Tournament is the demise of college basketball in Philadelphia.

Temple, St. Joseph's, La Salle and Penn, the other members of the city's Big Five, did not make the NCAA Tournament this year and it wasn't even close. Neither did Philly's other Division I team, Drexel.

None of the five had a winning record, and combined -- without Villanova -- they were 64-89. Even non-Communist politicians in North Korea win more often than that.

No one is saying that Philly college basketball will ever return to its glory days of the 1960s and 1970s, when Big Five teams took turns being national powers.

But this is gory days. Outside of Villanova, the teams range from mediocre (Temple at 16-16 and La Salle at 15-15) to awful (Drexel at 9-23 and St. Joe's at 11-20).

Perhaps Philadelphia high school hoops are not as strong as they used to be. For example, Villanova's roster has only four players from the Philly region and its top players are from Maryland and Illinois.

Perhaps the best high school kids from Philly are going to colleges in better conferences, believing that's their best chance to play pro basketball.

Perhaps it's just a down cycle, particularly with Temple and St. Joe's.

Regardless why, one can't ignore the woeful numbers. Thank goodness that Villanova's tremendous success distracts from what is otherwise Sixer-like college basketball in Philly.


-- It would be nice if wedding receptions were held at venues that, once the live music begins, part of the place turns into a sports bar where the men can watch a game or two while the women dance away the evening.

-- Love, love, love the Charles Barkley-Samuel L. Jackson-Spike Lee March Madness/Capital One commercials. Pretty much love anything that Barkley does, though.

-- Somewhat darkhorse pick to win the NCAA title: UCLA.

-- Darkhorse park to make it to the Final Four: Notre Dame.

-- Darkhorse pick to make it to the Elite Eight: Rhode Island.

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