North Carolina Tar Heels avenge last year’s title game loss to Villanova to surge past Gonzaga to win sixth NCAA hoops title:
Via USA Today:
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — For a whole year, the North Carolina Tar Heels wondered if they’d get another chance.
For a whole year, the Tar Heels thought about what might have been.
When Monday night’s slugfest with Gonzaga came to a merciful end, the Heels had all their answers: The national title was theirs, the nets were hanging around their necks, the redemption tour was a success.
Their 71-65 win will not be mistaken for a work of art. But for anyone who bleeds Carolina Blue, it sure was a thing of beauty.
“This is what we worked for,” junior guard Joel Berry II said. “And the ups and downs we’ve had? It’s all worth it.” The story starts with the downs. When Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit his 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Carolina in the 2016 final, coach Roy Williams buckled over like a man who’d just been punched in the gut, put both hands on his knees and tried to figure out to explain it.
Final Four: In one of the most dramatic endings in Final Four history, Villanova shocks UNC to win 2nd ever National Title:
Via SI dot com:
HOUSTON — Jay Wright felt bad for Oklahoma. And not only because his Villanova team played just about perfect on Saturday night and delivered the worst beating in the history of the Final Four. It was a 95–51 win that was so exacting and destructive that it became boring. Even the theoretically lyrical part about it—Villanova’s breathtaking 71.4% shooting was the second-best rate ever in this event, trailing only Villanova’s 1985 team which shot 78.6% in its shocking title-game upset of Georgetown—didn’t feel like poetry. So, sure, these were some reasons Wright felt bad. It was almost impossible to conceive of his team playing this well, at this point. Oklahoma was supposed to show up here with a chance, and it did not have a chance at all.
But Wright, who is in his 15th year with the Wildcats, felt bad, additionally, because he could relate. He knew what it felt like to stand on a Final Four sideline in a giant stadium and look out and think everything was going to be fine. Read the rest of this entry
Duke freshman guards Tyus Jones & Grayson Allen deliver in the 2nd half as the Blue Devils come back to beat Wisconsin in Final:
Via The Associated Press:
INDIANAPOLIS — Call them freshmen. Please, do not call them kids.
Led by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s talented group of youngsters outscored Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to grit out a 68-63 victory for the program’s fifth national title.
Okafor, the likely first pick in the NBA draft if he decides to leave, got outplayed by Badgers center Frank Kaminsky but came through like a veteran when the pressure was highest. He made two straight buckets over Kaminsky, sandwiched between a pair of 3-pointers from Jones, to help the Blue Devils (35-4) turn a one-time nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead with 1:22 left.
A furious Wisconsin rally ensued, but it came up short. Then, it was Okafor on the bottom of a rowdy, raucous dog pile — a scene very reminiscent of the last time the Final Four was Indianapolis, back in 2010 when Duke edged out Butler in another scintillating final. Read the rest of this entry
Myron Medcalf of ESPN looks at the interesting story lines and key matchups as the Final 4 is set:
The survivors, those who’ve persisted toward Atlanta for the Final Four and a shot at the national title, are diverse.
There’s the Big Ten team that’s not the Big Ten team many expected to see there. And the Kansas school that believes in the code of the WuShock, not the Jayhawk.
The Big East’s best team is still thriving. But Louisville’s conference colleague, Syracuse, is coming, too. They’re all different. Their styles, their systems, their paths.
But there’s a similarity that can’t be overlooked as we prepare for the final chapter of the 2012-13 season. They’re all led by elite quarterbacks (point guards).
Trey Burke, Malcolm Armstead, Michael Carter-Williams and Peyton Siva are savvy leaders who’ve demonstrated their value throughout the NCAA tournament.
Yahoo Sports looks at the remaining Sweet 16 teams and their chances to win the NCAA Title:
The opening weekend of the NCAA tournament produced plenty of surprises, but it did not change the favorite to capture the national title. That remains No. 1 overall seed Louisville, which looked as dominant as anyone advancing to the Sweet 16.
With the regional semifinals set to tip off Thursday evening, here’s ranking of the 16 teams still alive from most likely to least likely to win a championship. To be clear, this is not merely a best-to-worst list – it also takes into account upcoming draw and where those games will be held.
How they got here: Defeated North Carolina A&T and Colorado State
Up next: No. 12 Oregon
Outlook: Since a five-overtime loss to Notre Dame during Big East play, Louisville has reeled off 12 wins in a row, captured the Big East tournament title and throttled its first two NCAA tournament opponents by an average of nearly 30 points. The team that beats the Cardinals will have to be patient, careful with the ball and torrid from the field, which is bad news for an Oregon team that plays at a fast pace and turns the ball over a little too frequently.
How they got here: Defeated James Madison and Temple
Up next: No. 4 Syracuse
Outlook: It took a key block, a shrewd coaching decision and a game-clinching 3-pointer for Indiana to survive Temple’s round of 32 upset bid, but the Hoosiers did what they needed to do, which was survive and advance. They have the firepower to solve Syracuse’s zone and to overcome Miami or Marquette in the regional finals, but more production from everyone besides Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller is essential.
How they got here: Defeated Northwestern State and Minnesota
Up next: No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast
Outlook: Dominant as Florida has been in its first two games, questions remain how the Gators will fare down the stretch in a close game and whether they can hold onto a late lead in an Elite Eight game the way they’ve failed to do the past two years. Florida may have the size, length and athleticism to put Florida Gulf Coast away early, but whether it’s the Elite Eight or the Final Four, the Gators eventually will be tested in a close game.