Villanova Wildcats- East Region Champions (34-4) Big East
The Villanova Wildcats came into the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a Big East Tournament title. Although they didn’t win the regular season title, they did knock off the Xavier Musketeers twice in the regular season. As a result, they were able to garner 1 of the 4 No. 1 Seeds. They earned their spot as the East Region favorite. They played even better as the favorite to reach their fifth Final Four.
The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring at 86.6 points per game. They are averaging 82.3 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. They are giving up 64 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. Therefore, they come into the Final Four with 18.3 points per game margin of victory. That is better than their entire season numbers at 16.4 points per game.
Close Call: If there was any game that the Villanova Wildcats struggled in, we would have to say against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Why? Cause they were losing the game in the second half. They were trailing the Mountaineers, 60-54 with 11:08 left in the game. The pressure was getting to the Wildcats. It got to them so much, they went on a 36-18 run to finish the game. Still, the Wildcats turned the ball over 15 times.
Easiest Victory: With the Wildcats winning all of their games by at least 12 points, they have had a relatively easy road through the East Region. However, the easiest victory probably came in the Round of 64 against the Radford Highlanders. The Wildcats came out of the gates strong and had their biggest victory by 26 points. It set the tone for the rest of the NCAA Tournament.
First Round- No. 16 Radford 87-61
Second Round – No. 9 Alabama 81-58
Sweet 16 – No. 5 West Virginia 90-78
Elite 8- No. 3 Texas Tech 71-59
The Wildcats will be playing their third straight Big 12 opponent on Saturday. They played three major teams from the Round of 32 on. They dismantled the high profile Alabama Crimson Tide. Then, back to back victories over the Mountaineers and Texas Tech Red Raiders showed that the Wildcats can win games in various ways. Keep in mind, the SEC and Big 12 were fighting to be the best conferences in college basketball this season. The last three opponents presented intriguing matchups against extremely athletic teams. Now, the Wildcats will be playing the Kansas Jayhawks that are similar in size on the perimeter. Both teams have at least four perimeter players on the court at the same time.
The Wildcats have six players scoring at least 10 points per game. Jalen Brunson leads with the Wildcats with 19.2 points and 4.6 assists per game. Mikal Bridges is second on the team with 17.8 points per game. Donte DiVincenzo comes off the bench to score 12.9 points per game. Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall and Phil Booth all score slightly more than 10 points per game.
Another factor that shows how much the Wildcats share the ball is in their rebounding category. The Wildcats are No. 18 in total rebounds. However, Spellman leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game. The other five double figure scorers snatch at least three rebounds per game. They Wildcats also have five players with at least two assists per game. That’s why they are No. 5 in assists numbers this season.
Current Streak- 9 Games: The Wildcats have won nine games in a row. Their last defeat came against the Creighton Blue Jays on the road in overtime. That game was played on February 24th. Even with the nice streak going on, the Wildcats only have the third longest winning streak in the Final Four.