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
Kentucky, Duke, and Wisconsin are the remaining No.1 seeds in a NCAA Tournament headlined by dominant undefeated Kentucky:
The Kentucky Wildcats ended up where everyone expected them on Selection Sunday: seeded No. 1 on their quest to become the first undefeated team since 1976.
“Everyone is 0-0 right now,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in an appearance on ESPN. “This is a one-game shot.
“All I want for my team right now is individually to be the best version of yourself.”
Wisconsin secured the first top seed in program history after overcoming an 11-point deficit Sunday against Michigan State to win 80-69 in overtime in the Big Ten championship.
“It felt like everything aligned perfectly,” Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky said. “Just how we played at the end of the game, how we pulled out a come-from-behind victory down 11. … It was just crazy, like it was written in the stars.”
But the Badgers (31-3) must play in the West Region, where second-seeded Arizona is certain to draw more fans.
The other No. 1 seeds were Villanova in the East and Duke in the South. Read the rest of this entry