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Philadelphia: Smile because it happened

Basketball

The GIST: The Villanova Wildcats’ run in the men’s NCAA tournament ended on Saturday in a Sweet 16 loss to the Baylor Bears. Can we pretend it’s 2018 instead?

March 29, 2021
Source: Villanova MBB/Twitter.com
Source: Villanova MBB/Twitter.com

The game: The No. 5 Wildcats came out scoring, earning a seven-point lead at the half on the backs of forward Jermaine Samuels and guard Justin Moore. The No. 1 Bears, who usually boast some of the best three-point shooting in the country, had gone cold, and the upset was so close, we could almost taste it

  • But, due to their three-point-shooting woes, the Bears switched it up in the second half, focusing on close-range shots and tightening up on defense. 
  • You know how this story ends. This change in strategy was a good one, and the Bears came back to win 62–51. Sigh. 

The bottom line: Considering the ’Cats lost star guard Collin Gillespie right before the postseason, Villanova’s run to the Sweet 16 exceeded most fans’ expectations.

Looking ahead, the aforementioned Moore is expected to return next season — and he will be joined by ’Nova’s 2021 recruiting class, which is ranked as the third-best group of incoming players in the country. March 2022, look out.