Philadelphia to honor champion Wildcats with Thursday parade

05 April, 2018, 00:50 | Author: Gary Shelton
  • Bonfires were seen being lit around the Villanova campus outside Philadelphia

The veteran coach made a conscious effort to improve his team's defensive deficiencies, and the result was the Wolverines' second appearance in the title game in six years - and a sense that MI will remain a threat in the Big Ten as long as Beilein is there.

"Sometimes I think about whether I'm a good defender, because in practice, he makes me look bad", said junior Mikal Bridges, who likely made this his final audition for the National Basketball Association with a 19-point night on 7-for-12 shooting.

Villanova's 79-62 victory over the Wolverines in Monday's title game gave the Wildcats a double-digit win in all six of their NCAA Tournament games.

DiVincenzo finished with 31 points - a title game record for a bench player - plus five rebounds and two emphatic blocked shots. He capped the second shooting skein with a 3-pointer from a step behind the arc. "[The Wolverines] did a great job of making it hard for Jalen and Mikal, and they were just making the right play. And Omari [Spellman] was setting great screens and getting me open". Going into the championship game DiVincenzo was averaging 12 points per game in the tournament, or about one less than he had all season, although he was the third leading scorer for the Wildcats.

"When you're knocking down shots like that and you're feeling it offensively, it just brings a different type of energy", he said.

Wagner scored to start the second half, but the Wildcats weren't about to let suspense enter the equation.

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Villanova scored 9 consecutive points with 6:08 left in the 1st Half, making the game 23-21 in favor of Villanova.

"Eats you up forever", MI coach John Beilein said. "I knew he was proud at that moment".

That wasn't a sure thing, even after the Wolverines reached the Final Four in 2013 and won a conference title the following year. "It was an incredible performance". "We just don't want anybody falling, that's the biggest problem".

In Villanova's world, which is fascinating and enviable and potentially dynastic, the players are on stage after a 79-62 victory over MI, holding their second championship trophy in three seasons and turning the moment into a bromance, with expressions of love for each other and awe over what their unselfish spirit has created.

The Wolverines spent most of the NCAA Tournament out of sync offensively, misfiring from 3-point range and relying on a tenacious defense to keep their season going.

Villanova defeated MI 79-62 in Monday's title game in San Antonio, setting off a raucous celebration around the suburban Philadelphia campus.

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"Unfortunately a Twitter account belonging to Donte DiVincenzo was hacked tonight", Villanova said in a statement. It may happen again, and it may take another 33 years, but it will never happen again for the first time.

Donte DiVincenzo's biggest contribution to Villanova's 2016 national championship was made at practice, often playing the role of the opponents' best player.

When parity had been the story over the last three weeks, Villanova won all six tournament games by double digits. But while Virginia, Xavier, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Michigan State, Tennessee and many others were losing to teams seeded worse than fifth, Michigan survived five tests from the same caliber of team.

If he can crack the starting lineup, that is.

"That year versus this year it was tough not being out there competing with these guys", DiVincenzo said.

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