No Repeat: Villanova fails down stretch while carrying crown

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 Wisconsin Prediction, Game Preview

ORLANDO, Fla. - Playing maybe its most complete game of the season, Florida dismantled Virginia at Amway Center.

One simple bank shot, one measly layup at the right time could have made a world of difference and could have kept the Wildcats' season alive. Hayes, however, gave the Badgers the lead back on their next possession with an up-and-under layup, leaving Villanova down two with 11.4 seconds remaining. After all, 67 out of the 68 teams will end with an awkward goodbye in a foreign locker room surrounded by people who want to know how you feel moments after having your heart ripped out. "We have to win six games so let's start with these two here this weekend", Greg Gard said.

The numbers became embedded in the record book Saturday for Hart and Darryl Reynolds, and for Kris Jenkins, whose three-pointer won the title a year ago but who didn't make a single one in his final NCAA tournament. That's the problem. You don't get to choose which one.

"To me, there's no dishonor in losing in this tournament", Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Many folks thought the ACC was the best league in America this year, although the advanced numbers at KenPom.com prefer the Big 12, which benefits from not having any bad teams.

"With our defense and how we play we know if we play at our best we could be anyone. You have to accept it".

Hayes finished the game with 19 points and eight rebounds.

The Big Dance is one tough grind, which is what makes winning it so wonderful.

After the First Round where there were only six lower-seeds that advanced, we now get a massive upset. "You know, it's tough".

When Bob Huggins' Mountaineers team gets to dictate the pace of a game, they can beat anyone in the country.

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"And I was proud of how our guys played". They missed shots. They didn't box out and allowed follow shots.

And for Villanova, it is one that is too familiar now. Much has been made about that seeding, as well as the seeding of many others in this tournament field.

Villanova came into the NCAAs on a roll after winning the Big East Tournament and was expected to at least escape the East but had their hopes busted and will have to relish those moments from past year when they won their first title since 1985. They weren't as sharp.

Super sub freshman Donte DiVincenzo scored 15 and Jalen Brunson added 11 for Villanova, which had looked so vulnerable in a first-round win over No. 16 seeded Mount St. Mary's.

They did not have enough offensive balance, not enough options down the stretch.

With under a minute reaming, Villanova guard Josh Hart was called for a walk with his team down by a point. He did not get a shot off either time. The Badgers also had a 32-22 advantage in points in the paint.

"I think it can be frustrating when you're getting a lot of shots but they're not going in the net", senior captain Sydney McKibbon said. "They're my brothers for life, regardless of what happened this year".

It makes me wonder: What is the legacy of this Villanova team going to be?

"He had the big-boy trousers on the last couple of weeks", Hart said. He's not going to think about whether or not Villanova was fortuitous in putting together a title-contending team in a year where the other contenders weren't all that good.

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