HomeTrending TopicsVillanova tries to keep away from 2nd-round tourney blues vs. Alabama – The Seattle Occasions
Posted in Trending Topics on 18th March 2018

PITTSBURGH (AP) — It’s not a curse. As a result of Villanova has received a nationwide championship.

It’s not at all times unhealthy luck. Once more, the banner within the rafters.

It’s definitely not one thing to concern. See, 2016.

However the second spherical of the NCAA Event has definitely mystified the Wildcats for many of the final eight occasions they’ve reached that spot. The 2016 nationwide championship trophy within the foyer of the college’s glowing apply facility ought to in all probability be flanked by extra April .

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For all of the Wildcats have achieved beneath coach Jay Wright — they’ve run roughshod over the Large East for the higher a part of a decade — it’s simple to see how they may have squeezed not less than just a few extra Candy 16s and past out of this system.

First, the good things.

The Wildcats reached the Elite Eight as a No. 1 seed in 2006, a Remaining 4 as a Three in 2009 and had been a high seed throughout the 2016 nationwide championship season.

Now, right here’s the place they cringe on the Foremost Line.

The Wildcats misplaced within the first weekend as a 1 or 2 seed in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Right here they’re once more, the top-seeded Wildcats (31-Four) chasing a Candy 16 berth if they will beat No. 9 Alabama (20-15) on Saturday.

This yr’s Wildcats insist previous disappointments aren’t trending matters within the locker room.

“(It’s) one thing that we hardly ever speak about,” star guard Jalen Brunson mentioned. “It’s one thing which will cross my thoughts right here and there.”

Wright has tried to discover a constant difficulty that doomed the Wildcats in every of the 1 and a couple of seed defeats that stored this system from maybe making it the true class of faculty basketball.

(Not that the blueblood doesn’t already reside on a fairly lofty perch.)

Those that slipped away nonetheless sting.

— 2010. No. 2 seed. Misplaced in second spherical, 75-68 to Saint Mary’s. The 10th-seeded Gaels held every of Villanova’s high three scorers to beneath double figures and All-American Scottie Reynolds missed 9 of 11 pictures in his remaining sport. Saint Mary’s heart Omar Samhan scored 32 factors.

— 2014. No. 2 seed. Misplaced in second spherical, 77-65 to UConn. Nobody anticipated the seventh-seeded Huskies would go on to win the nationwide championship. However on the time, the Huskies had simply squeaked by Saint Joseph’s in time beyond regulation, and this was a giant upset. Villanova went greater than 11 minutes with no area aim, lacking 10 straight pictures and blew a 10-point lead.

— 2015. No. 1 seed. Misplaced in second spherical, 71-68 to N.C. State. The Wildcats couldn’t purchase a basket. They missed a whopping 20 of 28 area objectives within the first half and shot 31 p.c (19 of 61) general. This one was notable as the sport that spawned the delivery of the unhappy Villanova band member nicknamed Piccolo Woman.

— 2017. No. 1 seed. Misplaced in second spherical, 65-62 to Wisconsin. Villanova was the general No. 1 seed and wanted solely two video games once more to get bounced. The No. eight seed Badgers had been taking part in of their 19th straight NCAA Event and had been anticipated to be a troublesome out. Nigel Hayes scored a layup in visitors with 11.Four seconds left that may deny the Wildcats their second straight nationwide championship.

“Not a type of hurts any greater than the opposite,” Wright mentioned.

They’d wish to hold the Kleenex away from the band on Saturday.

“These guys have mentioned, we all know one of the best of this event, the place we received all of it, and we all know the worst while you’re getting knocked out early,” Wright mentioned. “So we simply respect the truth that something can occur.”

That’s the place the Crimson Tide come into play.

Alabama beat Virginia Tech 86-83 within the opener for its first NCAA Event win since 2006. The Crimson Tide final performed and defeated a No. 1 seed in 2004 after they reached the Elite Eight.

“I don’t suppose anyone’s, at this level, pondering that we’re going to win this sport. However we simply received to play ball,” coach Avery Johnson mentioned. “Bizarre issues occur within the NCAA Event.”

Colin Sexton, who averages 19.2 factors, scored 25 factors towards the Hokies and has already collected a slew of awards as the highest freshman within the SEC. He’ll battle Brunson in maybe probably the most anticipated guard matchup of the weekend.

MORE THAN ONE SHOT: Senior guard Chris Chiozza made one of many largest pictures in Florida historical past, swishing a game-winning Three-pointer on the time beyond regulation buzzer because the Gators surprised Wisconsin within the Candy 16 final March.

This season, Chiozza has already develop into the primary participant in an NCAA Event sport since 2011 to have a turnover-free sport whereas additionally doling out not less than 11 assists. He did that in Florida’s first-round win over St. Bonaventure.

“I’m actually pleased with Chris. I’m so completely satisfied he’s my level guard. He’s had an important profession, and I’m most excited that his legacy will eternally be that he had a great profession, and he had a extremely good senior yr along with the shot,” mentioned Gators coach Mike White, a former level guard. “It wasn’t simply in regards to the one shot.”

MULTIPLE ADVANCES: That is Florida’s sixth consecutive NCAA Event when the Gators have received their opener. They’ve made to the Elite Eight every of the earlier 5 occasions.

Texas Tech had misplaced its earlier two tourney openers (2007 and 2016) since making it to the Candy 16 in 2005 beneath coach Bobby Knight, when present Chris Beard was a Purple Raiders assistant coach.

“That first one felt good,” senior ahead Tommy Hamilton IV mentioned about Tech’s 70-60 comeback win over Stephen F. Austin. “It was ugly, however we received it executed.”

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AP Sports activities Writers Stephen Hawkins and Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Extra AP school basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events

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