The Wolfpack fought and muscled their way into a Sweet 16 appearance while ruining everyone’s bracket in the process
The unbelievable just happened last night in at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The #1 seeded Villanova Wildcats, a squad president Barack Obama chose to appear in the national championship was defeated by the #8 seed NC State Wolfpack. This marked the 3rd consecutive year that Villanova has been eliminated in the round of 32 when they are being seeded as #2 or higher. Coming into the game, the Wildcats were on a 16 game winning streak, completely dominating the competition by winning the Big East Regular Season and Tournament to solidify their #1 seed in the East Region. But long and behold, there were the NC State Wolfpack who stood in front of them to stop their dreams of finally ending the curse of early exits. The Wolfpack were led by Trevor Lacey who had 17 points and 4 assists while receiving massive help from teammate Anthony “Cat” Barber and forward Beejay Anya who made the game winning in their 2nd round come from behind win against the LSU Tigers. Improving to 22-13, it is looking like NC State are due for another cinderella run to the national championship as a #8 seed, something that hasn’t been done since 1983 when the late great coach Jim Valvano led his squad to one of the biggest national championship upsets in NCAA history over a University of Houston squad led by Rockets great Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.
As far as for the Villanova Wildcats, a successful dominating season ended on the lowest note of them all. The Wildcats finished their season 33-3, in which some programs see this as a season for the ages but national basketball powerhouse such as Nova can viewed this year as a major disappointment. When you have seniors like Darrun Hilliard II and JayVaugh Pinkston, along with veteran upperclassmen like Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu and Josh Hart, the Wildcats had no excuse to settle for a earl exit such as the round of 32. When ask about the loss, head coach Jay Wright said this
I know we have to answer to the fact that we did not get to the second weekend again. We have to own that. But it’s not going to define us within our program. It’s going to define us outside of our program, and we accept that.
Guard Darrun Hilliard II finished the game with 27 points for a squad that shot 31% from the field goal. While Ochefu grabbed 11 rebounds but Nova was just out worked and out muscled by a scrappy NC State squad who just wasn’t ready to head back to Raleigh. As the Wolfpack advances to the next round, they will be awaiting their next opponent out of the winner between the Louisville Cardinals & Northern Iowa Panthers. Nova season ending unexpectedly gives these young cats valuable time to sit back and think about what history they could’ve made. This can be the spark that the upperclassmen need to get back in the gym to train harder so they can bring it to the competition next year. But until then, it’s bee nice knowing you Villanova. NC State, play on playa!
March Madness is here! When Omari is not lighting it up from 3 point land at your local gym, he is on twitter talking about life, music and sports. Go follow him @SmooveGuyO and check his timeline out as he is tuning into see who will be the next #1 or #2 seed to get upset by a cinderella team. HAND DOWN, MAN DOWN!