Don't hold it against Josh Hart if he doesn't have the fondest memories of our fair city.
As a freshman in 2014, Hart came here with the second-seeded Villanova Wildcats, fully expecting to advance through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden. UConn, however, had other plans. The seventh-seeded Huskies sprung the upset, then rode that momentum all the way to a national championship.
"I remember that one vividly," Hart said Thursday evening inside KeyBank Center. "Shabazz Napier, that UConn team, they were tough and talented, but we try not to think about that too much now.
"Obviously, you know, we knew we were playing in Buffalo. That was the first thing. When we heard Buffalo, we were like, 'we went there freshman year. We had a tough game against UConn there. But now, we don't really think about it. I think the only time we thought about it was the first time we heard we were probably going to be going to Buffalo. And it was like, 'oh, Buffalo.' "
Hart and his teammates have been here a while, arriving Monday in anticipation of beating the snowstorm that hit much of the East Coast to varying degrees.
The Wildcats' welcome has been two straight days of snow.
"I thought I'd get to see the sun," Hart joked. "I hope that's not what it's like up here all 365 days. I mean, I like the warm weather, so I don't want to say go back home, because I think it's snowing in Philly, too. We just got to tough through it the last couple weeks and put up with the weather. So I guess you could say we feel like, Buffalonians."
Not that the weather would have allowed for much of it, anyway, but the Wildcats haven't done any sightseeing since getting to town.
"We watched a movie together. That was really about it," Hart said. "I wish I could tell you we had, like, this epic snowball fight and it was amazing. But no, not really. We've just been in our rooms, just relaxing, taking our mind off the tournament, and just enjoying each other's company."
Hart and the Wildcats being defense of their title Thursday night against 16th-seeded Mount St. Mary's.