Villanova and UNC easily sail into National Championship



Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono smiles as he walks off the court after defeating Oklahoma. Villanova plays UNC Monday night at 8:19 p.m.

KEVIN DEITRICK, Sports Columnist

Up until this point in the tournament, March Madness has lived up to its reputation. From all the big upsets in the opening rounds with Saint Joes over Cincinnati, UNI over Texas, and the biggest upset of the tournament that destroyed everyone’s bracket, Middle Tennessee State over Michigan State.

I was surfing the internet and came across an article by SB Nation, highlighting the madness of March. The article said that for the first time in NCAA Tournament history, 10 double-digit seeds won a first-round game. It also said that eight teams seeded No. 11 or worse have advanced into the second round, the highest such number in NCAA Tournament history.

If you guys didn’t know, the Final Four was played Saturday night. The first game that played was Oklahoma versus Villanova. When you think of Oklahoma, one name comes to mind: Buddy Hield.

Hield had season averages of 25 points, 5.7 rebounds and two assists per game. Throughout the season, I think everyone assumed Buddy would be player of the year. Apparently not! Denzel Valentine of Michigan State won it after a phenomenal year.

Valentine averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. Anyway, Oklahoma had a great year. Buddy was the leader of this Sooner team, but guys like Isaiah Cousins (12.6/4.5/4.5), Jordan Woodard (13/3.4/3) and a guy I strongly dislike, Ryan Spangler (10.2/1.9/9) all provide a very solid supporting cast. For Villanova, I never really knew much about them.

With that being said, I assumed Oklahoma would take care of business, and move on to the championship. Boy, was I wrong. 

Waiting to be seated at Carlos O’ Kelleys, my friend Eli pointed to a television at the bar that showed the Oklahoma game. When I saw the score, my jaw dropped.

At that time, Oklahoma was down 73-42. How could this be? I definitely did not see this coming. Oklahoma did not have a very good defense.

For the season they allowed an average of 71 points per game. Villanova shot 71 percent for the game while only allowing Oklahoma to shoot 31 percent. Hield only had 9 points on 33 percent shooting. Josh Hart led Villanova with 23 points and eight rebounds. The final score was 95-51. 

The second game of the night featured No. 10 seed Syracuse and No. 1 seed North Carolina. It has been quite the tournament for Syracuse. Some people didn’t even think that the Orange deserved to be playing in March.

I have a theory. It’s called the Trump curse. With Trump shocking the world on his way to the Republican Nomination for President of the United States, there has to be a trickle-down effect.

Let me explain: There are magical powers to the Don’s big orange face. Due to his success, the magical orange stuff that is on his face, has trickled down and effects everything else that’s orange.

It has effected everything. Even the orange that I was eating came alive and started saying mean things to me (just kidding-that never happened). But the trickle-down effect had gotten to the Syracuse Orange. I mean, how else could they have made the Final Four? You be the judge. 

For North Carolina, it was anything but magic.

For much of the year they have looked like the best team in the country, besides, you know, when the Panthers beat them. With players like Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson and Linn Mar graduate, Marcus Paige, this team is a force to be reckoned with.

It was no different in this game.

From the tip, UNC had control of the game. The Orange were held to 40 percent shooting and 32 percent from three. North Carolina controlled the boards, out rebounded Syracuse 43-31, and they got really good ball movement with 18 assists.

Four of North Carolina’s five starters had at least 13 points. Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson led the team with 16 points, Johnson led the team with nine rebounds and Joel Berry led the way with 10 assists. Trevor Cooney led the Syracuse with 22 points. UNC took care of the Orange, 83-66.

This March has been very, very mad as has this entire season. It all comes to a close on Monday night. North Carolina will take on Villanova at 8:19 p.m.