Villanova Basketball: Hot shooting carries the Wildcats over West Virginia


As a result, they're moving on to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in coach Jay Wright's tenure on the Main Line and the second time in the last three years.

Jalen Brunson led the way for the top-seeded Wildcats with 27 points and four assists while Omari Spellman finished with 18 points, eight boards and three blocks and Mikal Bridges chipped in with 16 points despite playing relatively poorly - by his standards - on Friday. A three-point ball from Carter at the 8:06 mark gave West Virginia their first lead of the game, 25-24. Much of this success can be credited to star senior guard Jevon Carter, who averages a team leading 17.4 ppg on the season.

Villanova (33-4) has now made 47 three-pointers for the tournament.

Villanova's Sweet 16 plan for the team nicknamed "Press Virginia": Attack the stifling defence head-on. Justin Gray's eight points and five rebounds paced Texas Tech in the first half while the Boilermakers' Vincent Edwards and P.J. Thompson scored eight points apiece.

"What a game, man". I don't look down at the other end when we're coaching. "They're so relentless. They keep coming at you". The Red Raiders went on a 15-0 run, to wipe out a five-point deficit and turn it into a five-point lead at the half at 30-25.

The Mountaineers (26-11) stayed close throughout, ramping up the pressure and making Villanova play faster than it wanted to early.

"When they came in, we were struggling", recalled Huggins, whose clubs posted 13-19 and 17-16 records in the two seasons prior to the arrival of Carter and Miles. "I think that's a really valuable game for us, really valuable".

In the anticipated game of Friday's NCAA Tournament slate, will top-seeded Villanova be too much for No. 5 West Virginia at 7:27PM ET?

Then again, Villanova also can wear down an opponent with its depth, speed, shooting and defense. An 11-0 Villanova run midway through the half - capped by a putback slam by Omari Spellman - put the Wildcats ahead, 65-60, with nine minutes remaining, and they would not look back. The last time on two fouls shots by Nova Brunson, who finished with a game-high 27 points. There are a few more predictable, better seeded teams facing each other on Friday, but it should still bring us just as much madness that Thursday brought us. How many teams have a 6'9, 245-pound center who can stretch opposing defenses and still make above the rim plays on both ends like this? And TD Garden had become a cauldron of discontent, with fans of both proud programs perpetually booing their lungs out over a tightly officiated game.

More news: Daniel Bryan is returning to the WWE ring
More news: New Jim Carrey Art Depicts Trump: 'Wicked Witch of the West Wing'
More news: Militants trapped; PSO, trooper injured

BOSTON-It was physical, exhaustive and intense because, for the most part, it was a typical West Virginia game. I mean, we expect that of him. "We don't just want to go to the Sweet 16 - we want to win it all, go back, prepare for Villanova, watch a lot of film, and get ready for the next game".

The half featured six ties and four lead changes.

Matt Haarms finishing around the rim: Haarms was able to get to the rim on drives nearly at will against Butler and shot eight free-throws in the first half before the Bulldogs started switching screens.

The Wildcats came out firing, connecting on their first seven field goals. "It's insane to say, but I kind of felt like it was just business as usual".

"These two guys are going to go down as probably - well, not probably - THE best four-year backcourt in the history of West Virginia basketball, and that's saying a lot", stated West Virginia's Bob Huggins.

Villanova: The Wildcats are primed for another title run with their talent led by player of the year contender Brunson, the experience of the 2016 title and the lessons learned from early tournament departures in several years, including a second-round loss to Wisconsin last year.

Fresh off a dominant 81-58 victory over Alabama in the Round of 32, the Wildcats prepared for a stout West Virginia team.

Svi Mykhailiuk. Graham and Newman have been the leaders of this Jayhawks team for the past couple months, but when Svi is hitting shots this team goes to a new level. But Carter said at least it was a heck of a show.

"It was a great game", Spellman said. The sharp bettors are on two underdogs in Friday's games, while the betting public is all over two favorites. "He deserves a better ending, I think", he said.