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Villanova alum John Sullivan reflects on the team's basketball championship


The following is a commentary on the 2016 NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats from John Sullivan, a 1998 graduate of Villanova University. Right now is as good as it gets for many members of Nova Nation, and John, a certified public accountant in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, decided to share some of his favorite memories rooting for his college basketball team with Philly2Philly.




As a proud Villanova alum, it goes without saying that I’m as happy as I can be right now to be a Wildcat. We are on top of the college basketball world, and I am loving every minute of it! Photo: John Sullivan


One of my favorite memories from my time at Villanova was when I slept out for season tickets during my freshman year in 1994. I went to every game that season, watching the likes of Kerry Kittles and Jason Lawson advance to the NCAA Tournament as a number three seed. I was crushed when the team went down in flames in triple overtime in the first round against Old Dominion.


Despite that frustrating ending, it was such a fun season. Another cherished memory from that time was screaming inappropriate things (use your imagination) at Georgetown's Allen Iverson during his freshman year, when our team played the Hoyas at the old Spectrum. Little did I know that just six years later, he’d lead my hometown Sixers to the threshold of an NBA championship!


Sorry A.I. Kind of.


Although I look back fondly on those Villanova teams I watched during my years at the school, I couldn’t help but feel that the particular squad of Kittles, Alvin Williams and co. missed out on something really special when they failed to bring the championship back to campus. My heartache continued after a loss to Louisville in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.After all, they were once again favored and lost that game by just four points! My disappointment continued after graduation, including the time North Carolina edged us out in the Final Four in 2009.


As it would turn out, Villanova got their chance for revenge against UNC in 2016. And man, was it sweet. Photo: John Sullivan


I’m not sure I can say much else about the 2016 NCAA Tournament that hasn't already been said. Going into the game, I really felt we had a great shot to win because of how well the team had been playing together. Extreme defense and unselfishness, they played like a cohesive unit in the tournament. After knocking off Kansas and blowing out Oklahoma, you got the feeling that the end of their season might be a little different this time, and maybe, just maybe, the ghosts of Villanova’s basketball past could finally be laid to rest.


When Marcus Paige first hit that off-balance three-pointer to tie the game for UNC with just seconds left, I thought for sure we were going to overtime. Because of my lifetime of hard luck rooting for Philly sports teams, I honestly thought that we would come up short if the game wasn’t won in regulation, just by law of averages.


That being said, I still thought there was enough time for Villanova to run down the court and get a decent shot off before time expired, but nobody expected what happened next. When Kris Jenkins got the ball and hit that shot, I just lost it. I was watching the game at home and I went ballistic. I even woke up my kids with all my shouting. Despite running my own private practice and the tournament taking place smack in the middle of tax season, I didn’t fail to see a game and I partied accordingly, including a much well-deserved celebration at the parade, which was an all-day event for me.


It’s a week later and things have calmed down a bit, but I still can’t believe that we are the champions. I don't really remember the team’s 1985 win over Georgetown because I was so young, so to win something after graduating from the school is just an amazing feeling.


At long last, Villanova finally did it.


John Sullivan is a Certified Public Accountant at Sullivan Strategic. He is a CPA Industry Practice Winner in SmartCEO’s 2015 CPA & ESQ Awards

You can contact John through his website, or by email at john@sullivanstrategic.com



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