Nova Wins Again
Villanova is the men’s college basketball champion for the second time in three years, and that’s an enviable level for a program to achieve. The Wildcats dismantled Michigan 79-62 on Monday night in San Antonio to place itself once again at the top of sport’s rankings.
This tournament had a bunch of abnormalities to it, but Villanova was the north star. Remember when a No. 16 seed, UMBC, beat the overall No. 1 seed, Virginia? When a No. 11 seed, Chicago-Loyola, hustled its way into the Final Four?
“I don’t think these kids will think we dominated the tournament,” said Jay Wright, now one of 14 coaches to win this title twice. “They’ll just think we played Villanova basketball.”
Those things may be one and the same.
The Wildcats (36-4) won each their six tournament games by double digits, including the Final Four semifinal torching of another No. 1 seed, Kansas. And while Michigan (33-8) got off to a strong start, Villanova’s shooting eventually picked up and its defense remained strong.
We always believe that it is the stars that carry the champions, but ‘Novas’s hero against Michigan was redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo. He came off the bench to score 31 points, giving the Wildcats the shooting touch they were missing. You thought Jalen Brunson (9 points) or Mikal Bridges (19) would dominate? Oh, they sure did their part, but DiVincenzo was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
Michigan, which was seeded fifth in the Big Ten Tournament and won it to make its way into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed, played outstanding basketball through March and the Final Four semifinal. It simply ran into a team that was not only better but may be one of the best champions of all time.
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