The NCAA selection committee gave Villanova, the top overall seed, a bracket that was arguably the toughest of the bunch.
Wisconsin has the 53rd-rated offense and the 22nd-rated defense - it doesn't have to be content with just making it to the Sweet 16. And if Booth comes back from the knee injury that sidelined him from November forward, Villanova could be right back in the discussion for a top seed in the tournament.
Nigel Hayes hit the game victor on a baseline drive and left-handed reverse layup.
Josh Hart, who matched Hayes' game-high of 19 for Villanova, took the inbounds pass and quickly moved upcourt, but was stripped by Vitto Brown just outside of the lane. He was fouled in the process. Repeating is extremely hard and Villanova failed to make the necessary plays it delivered down the stretch in last year's tournament.
"You have all types of your ranking systems, statistic, analytic guys", Hayes explained after. "The thing is with all those algorithms, they can't calculate heart, will to win, toughness, desire". On the other hand, Villanova lost to Wisconsin, which is bad for America, bad for Marquette fans that live within shouting distance of a Badgers fan, and specifically bad for the Big East's bank account. "The things that we've grown with".
"I'm very proud of us as a program", said Koenig, who scored eight of his 17 points over the final 4 minutes, 21 seconds to help the Badgers complete a rally from a seven-point deficit against Villanova.
The game was tied at 37 with 13:41 remaining when Koenig picked up his fourth foul. As it turned out, the Badgers were more than that, as savvy seniors Koenig and Hayes made several key plays in the closing minutes. We can talk about Bronson Koenig shooting like 85% in the last five minutes of games, but it doesn't matter if Brown is a waste of floor space.
"Everyone's just telling me, 'Go in there and make plays, '" Koenig said.
"We made some poor switches", Pitino said.
Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson hit 10 of 15 shots, scored 27 points and had eight rebounds.
Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and spurred a furious second-half rally to send MI past second-seeded Louisville 73-69 on Sunday and into the Sweet 16. Wright and the team chaplain, Rev. Rob Hagan, know it scripture and verse by now. "Because they've had to battle through a lot this year as we've worked and grown through the season together". "I just said to Coach B, we only shot six 3s today and we won". Villanova grabbed the rebound, but the Wildcats weren't able to get a shot off within the final three seconds.
Hart finished with 19 points for the Wildcats, who were hoping to become the tournament's first repeat champions since Florida in 2007.
Villanova students left the Conley Center Saturday afternoon quiet, stunned, many in tears.
Losses in the Big Dance should not define seasons, but they often do and that's a shame. We told our younger guys that that's what you want to be. Wisconsin wasn't playing good basketball a month ago; it was patently underachieving. There's too many possessions and its too high variance for a call here or there to be the sole determining factor of game.
One Shining Moment, when it shines bright enough, will live on forever, and there will never be a moment that shines brighter than Jenkins' game-winner.