For a lot of the first half, people were very worried about the Villanova Wildcats.
It was weird. Maybe it was because of bad memories from previous Round of 32 games. Maybe it was because of Friday night’s Virginia game showing anyone and everyone is vulnerable. But, it was still weird.
Thanks largely to a strong second half, Villanova took down the Alabama Crimson Tide, 81-58.
To Alabama’s credit, they looked competent in the first half. It felt like just a matter of time before Villanova took off (it was), but Bama did a fair job stifling MIkal Bridges (one first-half point), and getting Omari Spellman and Jalen Brunson in early foul trouble. Thanks to Donte DiVincenzo’s 18 points in the first half, though, Villanova took a 32-27 lead into the break.
Then, the levee broke. Villanova opened the second half on a 12-0 run to go up 44-27. Bridges was responsible for 10 of those 12 points as he showed why he’s likely a top 10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He finished the night with 23 points, leading Villanova.
The Wildcats continued to methodically pick apart Collin Sexton and the Crimson Tide throughout the second half, hitting ten threes and outscoring the Tide 49-31 in the half en route to the big victory.
The Wildcats now advance to the East Regional in Boston, the site of their 2009 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight wins if you’re a fan of history. They’ll face the winner of Saturday night’s West Virginia vs. Marshall game.