Now the Wildcats are back in the Elite Eight, and they broke West Virginia's mighty press to do it. As has been the case throughout this year's event, guard play would be key to winning or losing. That one ended after midnight because of the slugfest between Villanova and West Virginia. "It's the guy that's most open, and when you put five guys on the floor that can all make shots, that spreads you".
With Kentucky's 61-58 loss to Kansas State Thursday night, the SEC does not have a team left in the bracket through the first half of the Sweet 16.
The Wildcats are healthy, they're deep and they're really really good. "They set the tone for everything we do".
No. 1-seed Villanova enters the game against No. 5 West Virginia with 419 3-pointers.
The half featured six ties and four lead changes.
Texas Tech's Zach Smith (11), Zhaire Smith (2) and Keenan Evans (12), celebrate in the closing seconds of the second half of a second-round game against Florida at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Dallas, Saturday, March 17, 2018. But West Virginia came up with a 6-0 run to re-take the lead at 48-47 with 16:07 to play in the second half. The Wildcats led, 44-42, in a fierce and frenetic first half. I think we'll be as loose as we can be and still you've got to make shots.
True to form, West Virginia forced nine turnovers in the first half against a team that averages just 10.4 per game. The run was punctuated by a tremendous sequence from Omari Spellman, who sparked the Wildcats by scoring 13 points in the second half. The veteran guard had 27 points by game's end, and showed that in the tournament, having an upperclassman leader can be huge for any team.
FAMILIAR POSITION: The Mountaineers have reached the Sweet 16 in eight of their last 12 NCAA appearances, including last season. Their biggest lead was twelve on three separate occasions, the last time at 90-78 on Bridges fouls shots. Friday night brought a renewal in faith of how a veteran team that's loaded with National Basketball Association talent and a surefire All-America at point guard can separate itself from most others in its sport.
Villanova got a big game from redshirt freshman Omar Spellman who dropped 18 points and was a force in the paint with eight rebounds and three blocks.
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Villanova didn't need any more motivation to get to a Final Four, but WVU reminded the Wildcats of how great they can be and how risky they are when backed into a corner.
Daxter Miles had 16 points to lead West Virginia. The Mountaineers did outscore the Wildcats from the bench, 27-9, and outrebounded their opponent by three, 39 to 36.
Four of Las Vegas oddsmakers' eight pre-tournament title favorites will be among the teams playing in the Elite Eight this weekend.
Here are the WVU vs Villanova game live stream, start time and other details. Kansas nearly always plays through its bigs.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Purdue Boilermakers Winner: Purdue Boilermakers - The Boilermakers would fabricate a fancy plate and smash it on the Red Raiders heads. The supporting cast was a rung or two lower than a team with national-championship aspirations could carry. Texas Tech won 69-66. Fittingly, it took place in what used to be a Big East city.
After Villanova went into halftime with a two-point lead, the Mountaineers opened the game's final 20 minutes with a 10-2 run and later had their largest lead of the game at six points, but it would soon disappear before their eyes. Four different players scored 14-plus points and three different players made at least two threes. So, too, did a slew of reserves, sitting some 25 feet across the locker room, all in a line at their lockers, watching reporters bounce from player to player in search of a nugget, tidbit or quote.
That is until you begin looking at some of Villanova's shooting percentages: guard Jalen Brunson - 53.5 percent, guard Mikal Bridges - 51.7 percent, forward Eric Paschall - 52.7 percent and reserve forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree - 78.8 percent. "And to see our guys come out, to be able to compete with them physically and mentally, it was really impressive to me". He had 18 points on Friday, including four 3-pointers.
Brunson played just two years of AAU basketball with Carter, who is a year older, but that was enough to help prepare him for his standout high school career.