Tonight was Villanova’s night to march to a second title in the last three years. In a tournament that was one of the best in recent memory, the Wildcats were the most consistent and dominant team in the country from start to finish. Villanova, from the city of brotherly love, will give Philadelphians their second champion in the last two months. Villanova won every tournament game by double digits, including the title game, which they won by 17 while leading most of the second half by 20 plus. I have to admit, Michigan came out swinging early and had a seven point lead early in the first half, but Villanova withstood the charge and calmly and smoothly went about their business, blowing the Wolverines out of the water the rest of the way.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the heroics of Donte DiVincenzo, who had 31 points tonight and was the catalyst off the bench that enabled the Wildcats to withstand the early onslaught from Michigan. Michigan was just outmanned and outclassed tonight by the Wildcats. Michigan has a nice team and one of the best coaches in the country, but it was no match for what the Wildcats were bringing to San Antonio tonight. Villanova won the game by 17, and their best player Jalen Brunson, who was the Naismith player of the year, barely played after the 10-minute mark of the second half.
Jay Wright has a well oiled machine there in Philadelphia. He’s winning with very few top recruits and one and done players. He has program players that are there for four years and are playing for each other and their school. In an era where the top players are going to school for a year and not really concerned with anything else but their pro careers, it’s a breath of fresh air to see an actual program be successful that has players who will be getting degrees from their school.
Congrats to Michigan also, they gave a valiant effort tonight and have one of the best coaches in the country in John Beilein. They will be back to the Final Four because of Beilein. He’s a great coach and developer of talent. They are continuously underrated when it comes to preseason rankings in the Big Ten, but come conference tournament time and the Big Dance, Beilein has his squad ready to go, and they usually perform. Michigan has a great coach leading their program and they should be proud of their team.
The only thing that is going to stand in the way of the Villanova machine winning another National Championship in the near future will be the money that the NBA will undoubtedly dangle in front of Jay Wright. Wright is a class act on the sideline, runs a first-class program, and wins with seniors that he has developed. I would be shocked if Wright ever left Villanova. He’s a Philly guy and he loves Nova as much as they love him, but you never know when the NBA comes calling waving millions of dollars in your face. Jim Nantz tonight told the story that Villanova played a home game the night before the parade for the Eagles Super Bowl win, and Wright and his family stayed downtown to go to the parade. That is a Philly guy, and here’s to a long run with the Wildcats with at least one more National Title.
See ya next week in Augusta Jim Nantz. Happy Master’s week everyone!