It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as their last go-around in a title game. But the results remained the same.
The Villanova Wildcats are on top of the college basketball world again. The Wildcats dispatched the Michigan Wolverines Monday night in San Antonio, coronating a run in which they have grabbed two of the last three National Championships.
The Cats were spurred by the efforts of Donte DiVincenzo. DiVincenzo, the Big East’s Sixth Man of the Year this past year, played like a superstar with the lights shining brightly. He went on a torrid run, scoring 31 points on a mark of 10-for-15 from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point land and 6-for-10 from the free throw line. 13 of those 31 points were scored in the second half, following an 18-point outburst in the first 20 minutes. He was certainly the best player on the floor, which is some feat with Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges hanging around, as well. And it might put a chill down your spine to think that he’ll be around next year and the year after, too.
Speaking of Mikal, Bridges finished the night with 19 points, the second-best mark of the night. Villanova fans may want to savor this performance, as Bridges is a likely lottery pick in the looming NBA Draft. If this is it for him, what a season it’s been for him, as one of the best two-way players in the nation. His contributions this season were extraordinary.
That word extraordinary best describes Jalen Brunson. He picked up nine points with two boards and two assists, as well, despite being plagued by foul trouble. This might be it for Brunson too, as he could be a late first rounder/early second rounder in the NBA Draft.
It is obvious what Jalen has brought to the Villanova program. With him around, Nova has been super. And he has too. He’s won two National Championships, the Big East Freshman AND Player of the Year honors; the Naismith Award, the AP Player of the Year Award, the Oscar Robertson Award and likely the Wooden Award soon enough. The record with him in a uniform is 103-13 (!), which is remarkable.
If this is it for Brunson in a Villanova uniform, it’s been a hell of a ride and a HELL of a career, too.
Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall had supporting roles in this title game victory, too. Spellman and Paschall combined for 14 points, and Spellman collected 11 boards, too. They too have had terrific tournaments. It was Paschall’s super second half that helped lead ‘Nova to victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four. It was Spellman’s deft shooting and dunking that helped lead them along to the paramount of the college basketball world.
Oh, yeah: Spellman and Paschall have the potential to hang around too, if Omari isn’t courted too hard by NBA execs.
Also getting on the board were Collin Gillespie and Phil Booth. The 2017 Philly Catholic League MVP had four points, while the 2016 National Championship Game’s leading scorer (People Forget That!) had two. You haven’t seen the last of them, either.
For Michigan, a hat tip to them. This was a remarkable run for the Wolverines. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led them in points with 23, Moritz Wagner had 16 and Zavier Simpson put up 10. It will sting for Michigan, as they have had some sour luck in these situations in the past few years. There’s still nothing to hang your head about with the way this season went, and how they pieced this run together.
For Villanova, this is a coronation. They are atop the college hoops world for the second time in three years. No team since the 2006 & 2007 Florida Gators has achieved that kind of accolade. Their torrid run through the ENTIRETY of the basketball world, and not just the Big East, elevates their status among the best of the best in this game. If they weren’t there already, this title game victory cements that status with nary an argument to be had.
Villanova has reached the summit once again. If all goes well, it’s going to be hard to topple them from their standing.