By Stefan Anderson
The 2016 NCAA Men’s Tournament was filled with a range of emotions and some legendary matchups that killed brackets, bets and predictions from anyone you can think of.
It started with some of this….
Then there was some of this ….
This was setting for Monday evening’s classic National Championship game, between North Carolina and Villanova. We saw two of the best, consistent teams in college basketball and got what we ordered then some. It would be hard to say that the best team won the game but I will say that the more disciplined team did.
You cannot discredit how great of a season the Tarheels had but the Wildcats were proven to stick with their game plan good, bad or indifferent. They were going to play tough defense and make North Carolina beat them from the outside and if they get a chance to score in the paint they will harass penetration from ball handlers and hound big men when close to the rim. Villanova held UNC tandem of Johnson and Meeks to 7-18 from the field.
The Tarheels closed the first half shooting 7-9 from outside but as hot Carolina seemed to be they could not shake off the determined Villanova Wildcats. Villanova’s strategic defense plan to keep the high flying UNC offense to play at their tempo kept them alive no matter how many haymakers the Tarheels threw at them. But when you shoot 58 % from the field it’s hard to counter any attack.
The win was perfect for Villanova and embodied the greatness that this tournament exemplified. Villanova coming from the “weak” Big East conference proved why they placed at the top of the rankings all season. Despite what their regular season may look like, they played three tough games to head to the National Championship. To beat the top ranked Kansas team, shut down the best player in college hoops in Buddy Hield and Oklahoma to then completing it with a win over North Carolina, Nova rightfully deserved this title. This win is a great win for a great team and should cement Coach Jay Wright’s Hall of Fame career.