NCAA Tournament 2017: Villanova deserved an easier second-round matchup than Wisconsin
Mar 19 2017 by Dustin Murphy
Josh Hart had 19 points for defending national champion Villanova, which finished the season at 32-4.
As there was originally on Selection Sunday, controversy surrounded Wisconsin's seeding after their upset win.
Instead of Villanova returning to the Garden for the Sweet 16, talk turns to Villanova's shortfall, its failing to advance beyond the second game of the NCAA tournament for a fourth time in five seasons. It came via a reverse layup, a smothered drive, a missed free-throw, and a too-short, desperate heave, and it ended with the reigning national champions being sent home before the tournament had even finished its first weekend. After a Villanova timeout, the Wildcats inbounded the basketball and were met with full-court pressure that kept the basketball out of Brunson's hands. He was fouled in the process.
The final scoreboard: No. 8 Wisconsin 65, Villanova 62.
"You have all types of your ranking systems, statistic, analytic guys", Hayes explained after. That's how they usually win some of their games, they try and out-tough you whether it's mentally or physically. They can't put that into a formula to come out with a percentage chance to win, and that's the things that we have.
"We didn't play perfectly, but we played well enough and we had enough perseverance to get things done in the amount of time we had". The senior point guard picked up his second, third and fourth fouls early in the second half.
"I can't believe you're an eight seed", Wright told Badgers head coach Greg Gard, per ESPN's Dana O'Neil. He only took one 3-pointer and missed it.
On paper, Villanova has a very real and very obvious hole in their roster, and it's right there in the middle.
Badgers freshman Dimitri Trice said on Friday his Badgers team was ready to go out in shock the world. We're not going to define ourselves that way. This is not an ideal situation against anyone, let alone against a team like Wisconsin, who lives on the ability of Ethan Happ and Hayes to score in the post and get to the offensive glass.
Top scorers: Wisconsin seniors Hayes and Koenig are the nation's top active NCAA Tournament scorers with 166 and 159 points, respectively, in 16 games played. The turning point came late in the first half, when the Gators started a 21-0 run that was their most lopsided of the season. "We've been on the other end of that a lot".
"Give them all the credit", Hart said.
That's exactly what Wisconsin Badgers forward Nigel Hayes chose to do with the game and history on the line as his team tried in vain to defeat the No. 1 seeded Villanova Wildcats in their round of 32 matchup on Saturday afternoon. "They made plays down the stretch". They repeated more painful history instead. To be that successful on the court and really represent the university like they do is something special. So I think if you are worrying where you get knocked out - which we all have to - but I just worry about the way our guys play.
"The great player he is, his team expects him to make that play. You want to be like Kris and Josh and Darryl".
Not only did the Badgers take care of business in the First Round, but they also entered March Madness after being grossly under-seeded in the 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket. It was a fine display for Hayes, who was playing in his school-record 149th game.