Top Reasons Why Villanova Won Title
We're less than a week removed from what is arguably the greatest game in the history of college basketball, especially when it comes to the national title.
Not only was a buzzer-beating three-pointer made by Villanova's Kris Jenkins, but also an incredible, double-pump three-pointer over two defenders made by North Carolina's Marcus Paige in the previous possession.
With the miraculous 77-74 victory, the Villanova Wildcats caused plenty of talk of the game being one of the best ever in college basketball lore. This article takes a look at how Villanova reached the pinnacle of college basketball with that historic shot by Jenkins.
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Villanova's unlikely heroThe 2016 national title game will always be remembered for its buzzer-beating ending. Villanova would never have been in that position had they not seen a major contribution sophomore guard Phil Booth, an unlikely hero. Coming off the bench, he provided Villanova with 25 minutes of very productive basketball. Booth went six for seven from the field, including two for two from three-point range. He was a perfect six for six from the free-throw line, and he finished the game with 20 points, two rebounds, one steal, and one block. Booth’s play might not make the headlines, but Villanova doesn’t win without him.
Offensive and defensive efficiency
During the national championship game, Villanova made 58.3 percent of its shots, went eight for 14 from beyond the arc, and knocked down 75.6 percent (13-17) of its free throws. Jay Wright’s team didn’t shoot the same 71.4 percent from the field like it did during the Final Four game against Oklahoma. However, the production was similar. Aside from almost blowing a 10-point lead in the final five minutes of the game, Villanova’s defense was impressive. With constant on-the-ball pressure, the Wildcats held North Carolina to 74 points with a shooting percentage of 42.9 percent from the field; off from the 82.8 points and 48.2 percent shooting that the Tar Heels averaged during the regular season.
In an era associated with the “one-and-done,” it’s only fitting that Villanova reached the top of the college basketball mountain on the backs of the team’s maturity and senior leadership. Forward Daniel Ochefu was a beast on the blocks and made the Tar Heels bigs uncomfortable all night, while the 2016 Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, Ryan Arcidiacono, controlled the pace, made unselfish decisions, and trusted his teammates with the game on the line. For Villanova and its seniors, this title was four years in the making, not a quick-fix scheme.
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