By Joe Giordano || Assistant Sports Editor
In what could be considered one of the greatest college basketball games in history (let alone in a championship game), the Villanova Wildcats defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels by a score of 77-74. After what was a back and forth game, Villanova was finally able to capture its second national championship after a 31-year title drought. Everyone watching was able to see the heart and passion of the players on the court and it is a game that will not be soon forgotten.
In the first half, North Carolina commanded the lead with a score of 39-34, but Villanova quickly came storming back in the second half to bring the game back and eventually take a six point lead with only 1:52 minutes remaining in the game. This is when, apropos to the nickname of the tournament, madness ensued.
North Carolina made one of the great comebacks in recent memory and brought the game back within three points and then Marcus Paige, in what many will never remember due to what happened next, hit a double clutch game tying 3 pointer with only 4.7 seconds left. With all the momentum and only 4.7 seconds left, it seemed that North Carolina was destined to send the game into overtime and take the national championship. However, after that Villanova head coach Jay Wright called a timeout and set up a play that will live on in college basketball history forever. With only 4 seconds left, Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono dribbled all the way up the court before shoveling a pass over to Kris Jenkins, and the rest, like they say, is history.
With all the cool in the world even while extreme under pressure, Kris Jenkins drilled a three pointer and claimed Villanova its first title in more than 35 years. As the confetti streamed down, the Wildcats were jubilant in celebration while the Tar Heels stood there in utter shock and devastation. And those scenes, those images of those players filled with such passion and anguish in both victory and defeat, is what makes college basketball so great.
You rarely see this type of passion and determination from some of the professional athletes as they are paid to represent an organization for millions of dollars. Despite the millions in revenue these college athletes bring in, they aren’t paid a dime. They do it for love of both the sport and their university. The North Carolina basketball team weren’t just representing themselves, they were representing the 28,000 students who attend the school and had felt, even in a valiant effort, that they had let them down. North Carolina has nothing to hang their heads on as they provided the world with entertainment that will not soon be forgotten. And as for Villanova, they share the victory 10,700 students who attend the university in what must be a surreal feeling that is indescribable.
With all the improbable events that occurred over these past few weeks of March Madness, one can only ask and hope for next March when the next unforgettable memory will be made.
Sophomore Joe Giordano is the Assistant Sports Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org