Knicks get added Villanova bonus by playing Sixers in first round of playoffs

The Villanova Knicks have Philadelphia ties.
New York Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo
New York Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

The New York Knicks won't have to go far for their away games in the first round of the 2024 playoffs, just a short trip to Philadelphia. Madison Square Garden and Wells Fargo Center are just 100 miles apart. Over the next couple of weeks, Amtrak will get even more business than usual.

New York has homecourt advantage in the series as the No. 2 seed, but besides the proximity, it will have another advantage on the road.

Two years ago, Knicks fans didn't have any reason to care about Villanova. Well, except for the Knicks-Villanova fans out there. Sure, New York was linked to soon-to-be free agent Jalen Brunson, but he was gearing up for a playoff run in Dallas.

A few weeks after helping lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, Brunson signed a four-year deal with the Knicks. The two-time Villanova national champion was coming to town. Four months after Brunson made his New York debut, the front office traded for Josh Hart when the real Villanova connection began.

In the 2023 offseason, the Knicks zeroed in on Donte DiVincenzo. When they signed him on a four-year deal, the team had a three-headed Villanova monster (sorry, Ryan Arcidiacono). How has that worked out for New York? Spectacular.

Knicks have strong Philadelphia connection thanks to Villanova

There are plenty of Villanova alums and fans who root for the Sixers, so this isn't to say that New York won't be able to tell the difference between the crowd at MSG and Wells Fargo Center. Have you met Philly fans? They will show up in droves, but so will Knicks fans and the Villanova (non-Sixers) fans who want to see Brunson, DiVincenzo, and Hart play in Philadelphia again.

The Villanova trio is familiar with the arena and the city. Sixers fans have been waiting since 1983 for another NBA title since 198is, while Brunson (2), DiVincenzo (2), and Hart (1) won titles together in college.

The Villanova Wildcats have won many games in Philadelphia, so why not add Games 3 and 4 (and possibly Game 6) to their list of wins?

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