Two weeks of mayhem – a tumult of historic upsets, buzzer-beaters and at least one celebrity nun – have brought the NCAA Tournament to a crossroads.
Three teams that need no introduction. One from out of nowhere.
Villanova, the 2016 national champion, is headed back to the Final Four, thanks to a fourth straight double-digit victory in a month of March where they’ve played every bit like the No. 1 seed they earned.
Villanova’s 3-point party rolled past the pressure of West Virginia to bring the Wildcats to the doorstep of another Final Four two seasons after winning a national championship.
Sporting the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s chalkiest region doesn’t give Villanova coach Jay Wright any special confidence heading into Friday night’s game against West Virginia.
Mikal Bridges hit five 3s, scored 23 points and helped No. 1 seed Villanova put the field on notice that it’s the team to beat with an 81-58 win over ninth-seeded Alabama. Villanova plays Friday in Boston against the Marshall-West Virginia winner.
Jalen Brunson scored 16 points and No. 1 seed Villanova hit 14 3-pointers in an 87-61 romp over Radford in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
Gonzaga is back where it seemingly always is at this time of year. The Zags are WCC regular-season and tournament champions for the sixth straight season. They’re ranked No. 6 in the AP poll (seems to be a numerical theme shaping up). Here are six games – you knew that was coming – that shaped Gonzaga’s 2018 season:
Marcus Foster scored 28 points, Davion Mintz gave Creighton the lead for good early in overtime, and the Bluejays defeated the highest-ranked opponent in program history with an 89-83 upset of No. 3 Villanova on Saturday.
Xavier has a chance to play for a Big East regular-season title on its home court. The fourth-ranked Musketeers can take control of the league race by beating No. 3 Villanova on Saturday at the Cintas Center, where they’re unbeaten this season. It’s a showdown they’ve long awaited.