The Villanova Wildcats made a trip to the White House on Tuesday on the heels of their dramatic buzzer-beating win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in April's national championship game, and the customary ceremony with President Barack Obama was highlighted by praise of the team's tremendous achievements.
The commemoration of Villanova's second national title also included plenty of jokes, which came fast and furious once the team assembled behind the commander in chief, as CSN Philly's John Boruk documented:
Shortly after things got underway, Obama explained he should have heeded the advice of Vice President Joe Biden after incorrectly picking the Kansas Jayhawks—whom Villanova dispatched in the Elite Eight—to win his bracket, according to SB Nation's Brian Ewart:
Obama also took a moment to compliment head coach Jay Wright's GQ-esque fashion sensibilities, per Ewart:
Once his opening remarks were out of the way, Obama took time to praise Kris Jenkins' heroic effort in the closing seconds of Villanova's 77-74 win.
According to CNBC's John Harwood, Obama drew a lofty comparison by calling Jenkins' game-winner "a Christian Laettner shot," referencing the former Duke Blue Devil's buzzer-beater against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional final.
Discussion also revolved around Villanova's sterling academic performance. According to the White House on Twitter, Obama took time to reflect on the Wildcats' performance in the classroom.
"This is a team for the ages, on and off the court," he said. "Their grades rank in the top 10 percent nationally."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Villanova point guard and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Ryan Arcidiacono presented Obama with commemorative threads, per Fox 29 on Twitter:
Although there hasn't been a repeat national champion in men's college basketball since the Florida Gators won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, the Wildcats have a solid shot at returning to the White House next year.
While Arcidiacono and center Daniel Ochefu are on their way out, the team will still have core pieces such as Jenkins, leading scorer Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth to help lead a program that also boasts the Big East's fourth-ranked recruiting class.
Recruiting class rankings courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings.