Another exciting college basketball season is in the books.
March Madness got off to an exciting start, and never disappointed.
Here’s a look at how the season finale played out.
Michigan rode a hot streak all the way to the finals. The Wolverines were a mere 5th seed in the Big Ten tournament, but ended up winning the conference crown.
Unfortunately for Michigan, they ran into a Villanova team that proved to be one of the strongest champions in recent memory.
The Wildcats got off to a slow start, but went on a big extended run and won comfortably 79-62.
Villanova was the first team since North Carolina in 2005 to lead the nation in scoring and win the championship, and the first champion since North Carolina in 2009 to win all tournament games by double digits.
Here’s a more detailed look at how the coronation ensued.
From CBS Sports:
Villanova is officially college basketball royalty.
The No. 1-seeded Wildcats completed their best season in school history with a dominating 79-62 championship game victory on Monday night over No. 3 Michigan.
It’s Villanova’s second national title in three years, and the third in school history. And this time, no last-second dramatics were needed. Kris Jenkins’ unforgettable deep 3-pointer gave the Wildcats the title at the buzzer two years ago over UNC. This team was too dominant to require any doubt down the stretch.
Instead, Villanova got an all-time performance by sophomore Donte DiVincenzo, the sixth man who had a career-high 31 points and was named Most Outstanding Player.
DiVincenzo shattered title game record for most points by a non-starter, beating Luke Hancock’s previous (and now vacated) mark of 22 in 2013. That also came against Michigan.
DiVincenzo’s fingerprints are all over this outcome. He was the roaring story of the first half for Nova. Michigan (33-8) was in command of the game for the first 12 minutes. The game was physical and chippy.
The teams were battling cold spells early; the Wolverines and Wildcats combined to make just four of their first 20 3-point attempts. It was DiVincenzo’s 3-poiter that brought Villanova back and gave it the lead, at 23-21, with 6:08 left in the first half.
Villanova (36-4) never trailed again. It seared its way to another win and now sits on the mountain of college basketball once more.
DiVincenzo — dubbed “the Big Ragu” — was emblematic of Villanova’s incredible season. Jalen Brunson was the Naismith Player of the Year in college basketball, but Villanova was so dangerous so often because any of its top six players could beat you on a given night. Eric Paschall showed that in the semifinals on Saturday vs. Kansas; he had 24.
DiVincenzo supplied his best for Villanova’s last game of this 2017-18 season. He had 18 first-half points and was vital; Brunson was 3-of-8 had off his game in the first half. Mikal Bridges, who is likely to go in this year’s NBA Draft lottery, had only four points at the break.
But that’s why, again, Villanova’s so dangerous. And now, definitively, one of the best offenses in modern college hoops history. Despite the struggles from its two most talented players, the Wildcats — catalyzed by the irrepressible DiVincenzo, peeled off a 23-7 run to close out the first half. It was 37-28 at the break.
The run carried over and extended to 30-9 after halftime.
DiVincenzo was outlandish from outside. He found hotness again in the second half, and it was because of him that Michigan’s spirit was broken. The game was effectively over with more than eight minutes remaining.
DiVincenzo was so brilliant, Brunson picking up a fourth foul with 10:51 remaining mattered none.
Jay Wright is the eighth coach in D-I history to win two national titles in a three-year span. He joins this company: Henry Iba (1945-46 at Oklahoma State); Adolph Rupp (1948-49 and 1951 at Kentucky); Phil Woolpert (1955-56 at North Carolina); Ed Jucker (1961-62 at Cincinnati); John Wooden (10 in 12 years from 1964-75 at UCLA); Mike Krzyzewski (1991-92 at Duke); and Billy Donovan (2007-08 at Florida).
Wright is the 15th coach to win at least two national titles, and is now only one of three active Division I men’s coaches with at least two titles; Krzyzewski and UNC’s Roy Williams are the others.
@Philb_5 making it OFFICIAL! Champions of College Basketball 💪 #LetsMarchNova https://t.co/om5cXUHDtw