Plagued by some key injuries, many NCAA basketball aficionados weren’t betting on Villanova to do anything special. But we should know by now how this tournament operates (RIP to the Buckeyes of my home state). Villanova ran North Texas out of the gym and won big to advance to the Sweet 16.
I picked Villanova to go to the finals this year, and I’m not even from Philly. I do have them losing to undefeated Gonzaga, however. Villanova is one of those schools whose basketball program always demands respect. They’re always competitive. Early in the first half of Sunday night’s game, North Texas looked more impressive. They took a good lead, and things looked temporarily lopsided.
As basketball is a game of runs, the Wildcats were due to wake up sooner or later. They sure did. Although simply “waking up” is not how I’d describe it. I’d call it jumping out of bed and chugging an iced Cubano with four extra shots of espresso.
Villanova responded with a 34-6 run ending the first half in the lead 47-27. And they didn’t let up. Veteran coach Jay Wright, who knows a thing or two about navigating this tourney’s trenches, had nothing but respectful comments regarding UNT, especially the way head coach Grant McCasland runs the team. Villanova defeated North Texas 84-61. A statement win for the Wildcats.
I feel a spastic disharmony in the universe not being able to witness these games with the arenas packed full of painted faces and screaming lunatics—all in good time. Villanova plays no. 1 seed Baylor this Saturday, March 27. Baylor is 22-2 on the season. Winner advances to the Elite 8.