Villanova students gear up to welcome home NCAA champs

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It was madness all right - except when Villanova walked on the court.

This was one of the more convincing title runs in recent memory, with Villanova becoming the first team to win each of its six games by double figures since North Carolina in 2009. "Rather than come to college saying I want to get out as soon as I can". Villanova is sure to try to boost his salary now, and an increase of essentially $1.1 million per year would make Wright one of the five highest-paid college coaches based on 2017-18 base salaries. UMBC is a Cinderella story and maybe the greatest we have ever seen.

"Even if we had played our best, it would have been very hard to win that game with what DiVincenzo did", Beilein said.

In a tournament of UMBC and Buffalo, of upsets and outright jolts, and of Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean's magical ride, Villanova whisked through Radford, Alabama, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas and MI by 26, 23, 12, 12, 16 and 17 points.

The Wolverines lost in the final game for the second time under head coach John Beilein.


MI never got close again and Villanova won its second title in three years, 79-62.

The sophomore guard dropped in 18 points on 8-10 shooting before halftime, providing almost half of Villanova's scoring as they went into the locker room up 37-28. If it was not DiVincenzo, it seemed, it would have been someone else.

Villanova led 37-28 at halftime, never let the edge dip below seven points and eventually built a 22-point cushion at 76-54.

With 12:51 to play in the first half the Wolverines led 14-8 and looked ready to blow the game open, but Jay Wright had already made a major substitution, one he made with great confidence all season, and the world was about to meet "The Michael Jordan of DE", or "The Big Ragu". On the other end, Michigan's length and defensive pressure clogged the passing lanes that Villanova thrives on to generate open shots. Unfortunately, the Wildcats couldn't miss out of the gates while the Jayhawks couldn't buy a bucket.

This is the second national title that Villanova has claimed in the past three years, and the third in school history. The Wildcats never trailed again. MI was able too defeat Loyola-Chicago, but never seemed to be in the same league as the Jayhawks or Wildcats despite their Big 10 title and 14-game winning streak.


MI did make a mini-run in the second half, but the star of the game, Donte DiVincenzo, quickly put an end to that with back-to-back three-pointers and a wink. The more obvious was Jordan Poole, a freshman from Milwaukee who beat the buzzer with his leg-split shot and broke the hearts of Houston fans everywhere. "I pride myself on defense and just bringing energy to the team". Around eight minutes left in the second half, the game was essentially over, the damage too great for MI to regain their ground against Villanova.

Fittingly, it was DiVincenzo who dribbled out the final 10 seconds, flinging the ball toward the ceiling of the cavernous football stadium as his teammates mobbed him. But the Ramblers, too, were worthy of the headlines, reaching the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

Villanova's Omari Spellman (L) in the Nike PG2.

Senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 23 points.

Three months ago, the Wolverines were unranked in the AP poll.


Following a night off for the National Basketball Association and a night full of confetti for the Villanova Wildcats, LeBron James gave his two cents on last night's championship game and the star of the show - sixth man Donte DiVincenzo.

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