The NCAA will have a new champion because the Wisconsin Badgers eliminated the Villanova Wildcats from this year’s tournament.
The Wisconsin Badgers created the first major upset in this year’s tournament as they defeated the current champion, 65-62, and finished this game in big style with a 15-5 run.
After the first few days without any shocking news, Friday delivered possibly the biggest surprise of this year’s NCAA tournament.
A number 8 seed eliminated number 1.
“Seeds don’t matter,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “I told these guys I don’t care where we’re seeded. We have to win six games. Let’s start with these two this weekend.”
They eliminated number one seeds in the previous years and this was their third time in the last four seasons. In 2014 Arizona, and in 2015 Kentucky.
During the last year’s tournament, the Badgers eliminated then number 2 seed Xavier, with a last second three-pointer made by the fantastic point guard, Bronson Koening.
The most important part of the match was when Nigel Hayes made a drive and a lay-up, bringing the lead 64-62 to the Wisconsin Badgers.
“All of those games we’ve been the underdog,” he said. “You have all types of ranking systems, statistics. The thing with all those algorithms is they can’t calculate heart, will to win, toughness, desire. And that’s the thing we have.”
He finished the game with 19 points and eight rebounds, shooting 8 from 15 from the field and spending 39 minutes on the court. He had a lot of support from Bronson Koening — a fantastic point guard who had 17 points.
After winning the Big East tournament, Villanova was one of the main contenders for the NCAA title. They were looking to defend their crown and become the first team since 2007 who managed to do so.
In the end, the only thing they managed to do is to upset their fans.
Their coach Jay Wright said that his boys gave it their best shot.
“To me, there’s no dishonor in losing in this tournament,” said coach Jay Wright, “We’ve lived through it. You are judged by how you play in this tournament and that’s the reality of it. So, you have to accept it.”
Josh Hart had a team-high of 19 points, but he also had five turnovers. Jalen Brunson scored 11 and Donte DiVicenzo was excellent coming off the bench with 15 points.
Last year’s finals hero Kris Jenkins scored only six points, shooting .249 from the field.
The Wisconsin Badgers will play against Florida on March 23 in New York, at the legendary Madison Square Garden.