Oklahoma cruises in West, while Villanova uses stout defense to stun Kansas


“Open Your Heart”, by Madonna

Found on many compilation and Greatest Hits albums

It was all Buddy Hield and too much Villanova heart and guts that spoiled the dream match-up most of the world was looking forward to.

But I guess longtime Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright did not get the memo.  35 years after the private school from Philadelphia reached its’ first Final Four, that year it was played in Houston.  And here we are again.

Buddy Hield in Anaheim simply went nuts–tying an Oklahoma Sooners tournament scoring record hitting 37 points, including 8 of 13 from three-point land in a convincing 80-68 trashing of top seed Oregon.  This will be the Sooners first Final Four appearance since 2002 in Atlanta.

At the South Regional final, it was a different story.  Defense and lots of altered shots affected normally reliable Kansas, with their starters hitting only one three-point shot in the final minute.   Every time Perry Ellis was cornered, there were at least two or three dark clad Wildcats players evoking memories of hounding Patrick Ewing and David Wingate when everyone in the country thought Georgetown was on the verge of a dynasty in 1985.  By the time Devonte Graham fouled out late in the contest after scoring 17 points, the damage was done.

Well folks, the Big East is back and in a really big way after this impressive 64-59 shocker over the overall Number 1 seed in the Kansas Jayhawks.  For Villanova, this will be a slightly shorter wait than for Oklahoma, since they last appeared in the Final Four in 2009 in Detroit.

Very special for the birthday boy, Ryan Arcidiacono who helped pace the Wildcats along with Kris Jenkins in sharing high scoring honors with 13 points.  As a team, Villanova hit 18 of 19 foul shots for the second straight game.

At least, we will have a pair of ACC teams battling to see who will duke it out in the other semifinal.  My guess is that Las Vegas will have Oklahoma slightly favored, but without Kansas–this game could parallel what this season has been as totally unexpected.  I have only spot left in my brackets and that is to see if North Carolina will beat Notre Dame.  Otherwise, Oklahoma is my last hope.

Bottom line–very few people outside of the Big East expected Villanova to get this far.  But with them here, time to embrace it and appreciate the journey they have taken to reach the ultimate pinnacle of men’s college basketball.

Please remember, you will need cable to see the remaining five games of the 2016 NCAA Tournament as TBS will guide us through every foul, dunk, and buzzer beating moment.  Enjoy your Easter holiday and I will see you back here tomorrow night.


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