The Villanova Wildcats are heading back to the National Championship game, courtesy of a dominant 95-79win over the Kansas Jayhawks. They’ll face the Michigan Wolverines on Monday night at 9:20pm ET on TBS.
Villanova looked locked in from the outset, jumping all over Kansas courtesy of a barrage of 3-pointers. The ‘Cats tied the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four record with 13-pointers in the first half, before going on to destroy it in the second half. They finished the night 18-40 (45%).
It was the usual cast of characters for Villanova with six players scoring in double figures. Jalen Brunson posted 18 points and 6 assists while Omari Spellman had 15 points and 13 rebounds. But it was Eric Paschall who stole the show.
Here’s what we learned on Saturday night:
Imagine thinking Villanova takes too many threes
H/T to Will for getting this out there in the Twittersphere. It rings too true. Villanova blitzed Kansas and they never had a chance - even when they got hot offensively.
Down 15, Kansas scored on five straight possessions, which put them down 17.— Mike Jensen (@jensenoffcampus) April 1, 2018
Every member of Villanova’s top-6 hit multiple treys. The team finished with 18 from downtown, and frankly went ice cold from deep at the end. It was a gosh darn clinic. And yet, people continue to suggest that Villanova is taking too many.
I’ll admit there were some bad ones, and Kansas was able to find some mini-runs off some quick jacks. But the ‘live by the 3, die by the 3’ narrative is officially dead.
Eric Paschall looks like he’s the next star at Villanova
Paschall struggled early in the season, but he’s had a superb NCAA Tournament on the back of a strong Big East season. He hit another level on Saturday night that could be a harbinger of things to come next year.
He was basically unguardable all night, finishing 10-11 from the field (4-5 from 3) for 24 points to go with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He also played his usual brand of stellar defense. It would have been fair for Bill Self not to gameplan for him, but the redshirt junior made the Jayhawks pay for it all night for the omission.
With Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges likely heading to the NBA, Paschall looks like he could be next in line for the Wildcats.
Have fun, Michigan!
I would never count out John Beilein in terms of gameplanning, but I just don’t know how you deal with Villanova when they’re in this mode. The confidence they are playing with is surreal.
The Wolverines - like Villanova - have hit another gear defensively. And they have the personnel to match up with Villanova. So that’s a good start.
But if Villanova does anything close to what they just did to Kansas, it’ll be a fun Monday night for ‘Nova Nation.