The most talented college basketball team will always seem to have an advantage over its opponents. That is what North Carolina had when they would outplay opponents in the post, led by senior Brice Johnson, and play ferocious perimeter defense, led by senior Marcus Paige. However, on any given night, the best team can be beaten by an underdog in top form.
Villanova accomplished that Monday night on college basketball’s biggest stage. The team captured its second national championship after defeating UNC 77-74 thanks to a buzzer-beater three-pointer by Kris Jenkins that will go down as one of the greatest shots in NCAA Tournament history.
Many fans underestimated this team despite being ranked No. 1 in the country for part of the season.
Many teams such as Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville left the Big East Conference over the past few years for the ACC. That appeared to make the Big East only a mid-major conference with somewhat competitive teams. The games against Xavier, Seton Hall, Georgetown and Providence tested the Wildcats throughout the regular season and Big East Tournament play.
Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, along with other underrated stars, played together and cruised through their first three tournament games. They did so by shooting a high-field goal percentage.
After a narrow victory over Kansas in the Elite Eight, the Wildcats dismantled superstar Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners, using large scoring runs in the second half to blow them out 95-51.
Despite being out rebounded 33-23 to UNC in the final, Villanova shot 58.3 percent from the field compared to Carolina’s 42.9 percent, according to NCAA.com.
Villanova came to play, and the team did not look back.