3 years ago500+ Views
All Villanova had to do to win its first title since 1985 was beat two No. 1 seeds (one of which had won their previous six tourney matchups against the Wildcats -- and tied the game with a long 3-pointer with 4 seconds left in regulation) and one of the country's strongest No. 2 seeds. Oh, and then hit a game-winning 3 at the buzzer of the national title game, yet another big shot from a team that averaged 64.9 percent shooting in its two games in Houston. Nova shot well all season -- its 48.1 percent rate was 19th-best in the country -- but the Wildcats took it to a whole new level in the tournament. At 58.2 percent, Villanova had the best FG percentage in an NCAA Tournament in 50 years, and, of course, that ridiculous 71.4 percent showing in the semifinal against Oklahoma won't soon be forgotten. The Cats continued the sharp shooting in the final, and it was once again incredibly balanced: five players had at least nine points, and their leading scorer, Phil Booth, came off the bench. Kris Jenkins' winning 3-pointer will be the shot remembered from this run, and Booth's 20 points off the bench was a story for the ages, but Josh Hart had been the, well, heart of this team all season. As a junior, Hart was a national player of the year candidate for much of the season as Villanova's leading scorer (15.3 points) and second-best rebounder (6.7). In the tournament, he just kept getting better: Outside the tough win against Kansas, Hart's O-rating, according to metrics at, increased in every round through the first five games. A 12-point, eight-rebound performance against the Tar Heels wasn't too shabby, either.
The two teams combined to shoot 55-of-111. Villanova went 28-of-45 from the field and 8-of-14 from three; the Wildcats committed just 11 turnovers in 65 possessions. North Carolina was nearly as good for nearly as long, flashing the interior depth and perimeter balance that had made it one of the nation's most potent offenses. The Tar Heels mounted a furious comeback and tied the game behind Marcus Paige's ridiculous off-balance three on their final possession, but Jenkins delivered the dagger the gave Villanova their first title since 1985.
But again, congrats to Villanova. Not so happy but hey, at least they're part of the Big East!
One of the greatest NCAA games I've seen.....what really impressed me was how the Tar Heels handled their loss. So much respect for Roy Williams and the players!
I thought it was a great game