After steadfastly following the multi-game mayhem of the men’s tournament, millions of college basketball fans were fixated on their screens watching the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals. The second-seeded Villanova Wildcats had a six-point lead with less than two minutes on the clock and watched it evaporate when top-seeded North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit an epic three-pointer to tie the game at 74 with 4.7 seconds left. Overtime was almost a certainty. A timeout was called and both teams regrouped.
At the sound of the whistle, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins passed to Ryan Arcidiacono, who flew up the court and passed the ball back to Jenkins. The shot went up…and the net’s swoosh signaled the game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted Villanova to a 77-74 win and the 2016 national championship.
The emotion and energy was electric on the suburban Philadelphia campus of Villanova University the night of the Championship win, where many of Villanova’s undergraduate, graduate and law students, as well as alumni and friends, collectively watched the live streaming video and rejoiced.
And KINBER assisted with creating that magical night on campus by helping Villanova meet its technology needs.
KINBER held a staff meeting on March 17, which happened to be the first day of the NCAA tournament. The entire staff assembled in its Harrisburg headquarters. As a distributed staff, the team typically operates from all corners of the commonwealth.
Around 5:15 p.m. the office phone rings and the caller asks to speak with Mike Carey, KINBER’s director of operations. Apparently Villanova’s 1 Gbps connection to PennREN, KINBER’s next generation broadband network, was congested due to all the streaming video coming into the campus. When KINBER installed the connection, Villanova was concerned about possible equipment failure and wanted a redundant 1 Gbps. To meet Villanova’s needs, KINBER included a backup 1 Gbps along with its connection. Having the backup made the difference. In about 15 minutes from the time of the phone call, Carey was able to bring up the second 1 Gbps and configure it with the initial connection so that Villanova had a seamless 2 Gbps of connectivity to PennREN to support increased streaming video of the tournament.
The 2 Gbps connection continued to provide relief for the campus network connection as the basketball team continued to win and advance through the brackets.
As the team gained momentum, KINBER received a request on March 29 through the PennREN NOC system seeking a 10 Gbps upgrade to the Villanova connection by that Friday, in time for the team’s appearance in the Final Four.
KINBER made the upgrade and was able to help Villanova meet student demands to watch the tournament and, ultimately, the game many sports columnists consider to be the best NCAA men’s basketball final in history.
“During the middle of the basketball tournament, KINBER’s expertise and quick response allowed us to meet student demand while maintaining our operations across the University, which we very much appreciated,” said John Center, Director of Network & Communication Services at Villanova.
“The Villanova story demonstrates KINBER’s value as a membership based organization and illustrates how it provides strategic opportunities for our community. We are not just a network, but a partner that offers compelling services often specifically tailored to meet the needs of our community,” said KINBER President and CEO Wendy Huntoon.
KINBER offers Villanova and other organizations a strategic and competitive advantage through understanding, deploying and utilizing information technology and cyberinfrastructure in innovative and cost-effective ways. KINBER also provides leadership nationally to increase awareness within Pennsylvania of national trends and better position Pennsylvania entities to participate in national initiatives.