For the first time since 2009, the Villanova Wildcats are going to the Final Four!
The Wildcats won the South Regional by defeating the #1 overall seed Kansas Jayhawks, 64-59.
It was an ugly game, led by Kris Jenkins' 13 points for the Wildcats.
This wasn't supposed to happen. As our pals at VU Hoops brought us earlier in the week, all year long, Villanova had hundreds of detractors. They bowed out of the Big East tournament, in rather unspectacular fashion to Seton Hall. That loss cost the Wildcats a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament. Then, the selection show came and we learned Villanova would be playing their games in Brooklyn and Louisville, not Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Then, after dispatching UNC-Asheville and Iowa with relative ease, everyone said the Wildcats would have trouble with Miami. They didn't. Saturday night was Villanova's first real test of the NCAA Tournament. Coming into the game, they had led or been tied for 118:32 of their 120 minutes.
Kansas took it to the Wildcats, there's no doubt about it. Midway through the second half, the Jayhawks were on a run culminating in a five point lead. Villanova answered with a 10-0 run of their own, and never looked back, leading for the final 9:54 of the game.
The final minute was one that will be remembered for a long time because of a number of crazy occurrences. For one, Kansas' Devonte' Graham was whistled for an offensive foul, his fifth, diving for a loose ball with 34 seconds to play. The Wildcats hit all their free throws down the stretch, finishing 18-19 for the game, in fact.
With ten seconds to go, Kansas was down by three and was looking for one last chance. Then, Ryan Arcidiacono happened.
All week long, we'll preview the Oklahoma Sooners, Villanova's Final Four opponent. We'll also take a closer look at Villanova's defense and free throw shooting on Saturday night, and discuss what this means for the Big East in general.
For now, listen to the two songs below. "Party Hard" by Andrew WK, and "Everything is Awesome" by Tegan and Sara. They're fitting for the night.