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East notebook

Wildcats, BC eyeing get-togethers

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / March 26, 2009
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Villanova coach Jay Wright has reason to believe Boston's a split town when it comes to Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East allegiance.

It mostly stems from the phone calls he gets from alumni, who remember when the Wildcats had an annual spot on Boston College's calendar.

"It's funny because they're always on us to come up and play a game," he said. "When we would play BC we would get good crowds here."

Since Boston College left the Big East in 2005, the only meeting between the teams was a 2006 Sweet 16 matchup in Minneapolis, which Villanova won, 60-59, in overtime.

"I think there's a lot of deep loyalty here to the Big East from the history," Wright said. "And there's definitely ACC love, because they're in it."

Talks between Villanova and Boston College could test that loyalty as early as next season. BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo recently phoned Villanova AD Vince Nicastro to discuss the schools meeting in future years.

DeFilippo said, "I told him I thought we ought to play and he agreed with it. That's where it's at. There's been nothing formalized or anything, but at some point we'd like to play."

School ties
While Xavier coach Sean Miller, a former standout guard at Pittsburgh, downplayed coaching against his alma mater for the first time, Panthers coach Jamie Dixon didn't think Miller would be distracted. "I think, obviously, he's a proud alum and we're proud of him at the University of Pittsburgh," Dixon said. "But I think once we put the ball up in the air, I think everybody knows that both teams are going to be thinking only about trying to take care of business." . . . While Miller expressed concern about his team trying to cope with the Panthers' physical nature, Pittsburgh guard Levance Fields said that style of play comes naturally. "This team is really tough," Fields said. "It starts from the first day of practice. We like to play like that."

Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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