By Peter Gleason
Villanova got knocked out of March Madness this year in the Round of 32.
And it has been 30 years since the Wildcats pulled off the miracle victory over Georgetown that gave them the national championship.
NCAA basketball was quite different in 1985.
But nothing about that incredible run was more memorable that Rollie Massimino’s amazing halftime speech during the regional final game against North Carolina.
He screamed. Instead of wanting to be there coaching a team with a chance at a national championship, Massimino would have rather been at home, eating a big, steaming bowl of linguini and clams.
Rollie Massimino, for the first time in his coaching career, stormed right past his assistants and waded into the Wildcats before they could even grab towels. “Usually I talk to my staff first,” he said later. “But this time I went right in. It was, shall we say, eventful. I needed to reaffirm some things.”
His tirade was special, even by Rollie’s standards. It soared and leveled and then soared again, much more majestically than the 20 lopsided misses (out of 26 shots) with which Villanova polluted the first half.
“Do you think I want to be doing this?” Massimino erupted. “Do you think I want to be screaming at you? Do you bleepers really think I want to go to the Final Four? Listen, there’s much more to life than that.
“Do you know what I’d really rather be doing now than anything? Than being here in this room? I’ll tell you. I’d rather be at home, sitting behind a big, steaming, heaping plate of spags (spaghetti). Yeah, that’s right! Macaroni! Linguini with clam sauce! I’d rather be doing that than losing this damn game! Now get out there and do what got you here in the first place!”
Bottom line: Villanova beat the Tar Heels 56-44 to punch its ticket to Lexington and the Final Four.