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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Villanova Edition

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Congratulations to Villanova for winning their second NCAA Tournament.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Quickies.

Was there a game last night or something?

Seriously, that was the best NCAA championship game in decades, possibly ever, at least in my memory. Both teams played well, although both teams displayed weaknesses — Vilanova was destroyed on the offensive glass 43% to 9%, and North Carolina was held to 36% shooting inside the arc — but the game was well played and exciting. Congratulations to Villanova for winning their second NCAA Tournament title from one bunch of Wildcats to another, and to coach Jay Wright for an outstanding season.

The last buzzer-beater NCAA final game happened in 1983, when Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State team defeated Houston on a last-second shot that missed the basket entirely, but hit NC State player Lorenzo Charles right in the hands with enough time left for him to dunk it for the win. I remember most of that game, as I was home from the Navy at the time it was played and saw it at a friend’s house.

That moment, and even the infamous Christian Laettner buzzer-beater that killed Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight, has now been eclipsed by Kris Jenkins’ perfectly-timed 3-pointer to send the Tar Heels back to Chapel Hill wondering what might have been.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Marcus Paige’s heroics. Paige made two three-pointers late in the game to draw the Tar Heels even, and the second one was an unforgettable, off-balance double-clutched crazy heave from 28 feet that had no business going in — yet it did. Paige was outstanding from everywhere but right next to the basket, where he only managed 3-10, but his heroics, even though ultimately eclipsed by Jenkins, were pure magic.

Kentucky fans, for the most part, were probably mostly satisfied that UNC still lags UK by two three NCAA Tournament championships, but Roy Williams and his charges acquitted themselves very well this season. Their fans have much to be proud of despite the disappointing ending.

Tweet of the Morning

Indeed. The officiating was imperfect, but I detected several calls that should’ve gone the other way. None of them were dispositive in this game, which is why DeCourcy is right.

Also:

Again, right. But as title games go, this was much more well-played overall than the NC State-Houston game back in 1983 that ended in a buzzer-beater. I’d agree with him, and others, that this is the best NCAA final game I have seen in my lifetime.

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  • Sadness at the Tar Heel Blog:

    As much as we will try to remember this team, they will be a footnote to history. Paige’s rip away rebound and putback followed by a double cluch three pointer could have been the beginning of an epic story of how UNC stormed back to win a title. Instead they will be the set up to Kris Jenkins’ heroics and Villanova winning one of the most exciting finishes in NCAA Tournament history.

    Kentucky fans know this feeling well. We’ve lived it every season since 1992.

  • Euphoria at VU Hoops:

    Villanova is the first school without FBS football to win the title in 31 years – the last being Villanova in 1985.

    That’s an amazing statistic all by itself, but nobody could claim that Villanova is not a big-time basketball program. Maybe not Kentucky or North Carolina big, but certainly up there with Louisville, Arizona, Gonzaga, and a few others.

    But no matter where they might be in the overall pecking order, they are looking down on the rest of us from the top of the mountain this year. Congrats.

  • SB Nation’s extremely early look at next season has Duke at the top and Kentucky just below.

  • Should Eddie Sutton be in the Naismith Hall of fame? Debate amongst yourselves, but it seems to me he’s done enough.

  • Kyle Wiltjer to toss out first pitch for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

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