I have been around basketball for a long time, yet I wasn’t smart enough to see the national champions right in front of me for the past few weeks.
I had Miami as a sleeper and Villanova took them out. Everyone loved Kansas (including me), yet Jay Wright’s crew wasn’t going to be denied a trip to the Final Four. Then they took care of the nation’s best player in Buddy Hield and Oklahoma, and it looked like a bad junior high matchup against one of the best coaches in the game.
Then I picked UNC because I picked them last April and was ready to tell you to just trust my predictions. Why didn’t UNC win? In addition to what now is arguably the greatest shot in college basketball history, how about sophomore Phil Booth pouring in a career high 20 points? He had 20 points in the previous four games combined. Villanova had just six assists, allowed UNC to shoot 11-of-17 from three and North Carolina had 15 more shot attempts. It didn’t matter because Villanova shot 28-of-48 (.583) from the field.
This says it all on how good Villanova was: the Wildcats shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and had only two offensive rebounds. North Carolina had the second-highest three-point field-goal percentage (64.7) in a tournament loss in the last 20 seasons. Yet as college football and big schools rule college athletics, it is great to know that in the last 20 seasons, Big East teams are 6-0 in the National Championship game. Villanova got one for the little guys, where the round ball is still the most important investment.
– Bill Frieder
Former Michigan and Arizona State head coach Bill Frieder is an analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of NCAA Basketball. In his weekly blog Boxed Out, Bill scours the box scores to bring you interesting stories from the world of college basketball.