Why Villanova’s blowout Final Four win was so crazy
HOUSTON — It wasn’t even close.
No. 2 seed Villanova had one of the most lopsided wins in the history of the NCAA tournament, blowing out fellow No. 2 seed Oklahoma 95-51 in the Final Four to advance to the national championship game, which is Monday at 9:19 pm ET. The Wildcats will face No. 1 seed North Carolina, who also won comfortably, 83-66, against No. 10 Syracuse.
“I feel bad for Oklahoma that it happened to them in the Final Four,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m happy we had one of those games where we just make every shot. We had end-of-shot-clock shots we just threw up and went in. …It was simply one of those nights.”
The fans weren’t particularly easy on the Sooners either, who got pilloried on social media after the blowout.
Here’s how badly Oklahoma lost, by the numbers.
An absurdly good percentage
Villanova shot 71.4% — 35 of 49 — from the field, the second best field goal percentage all-time in the men’s Final Four.
So who has the record?
None other than the Wildcats, who shot an absurd 78.6% in the 1985 national championship game against No. 1 Georgetown. Nova won that game 66-64.
Before Saturday, Villanova’s best shooting performance this season was 68%, which came January 2 against Creighton.
The margin of victory
Villanova’s 44-point win is the largest margin of victory ever in a national semifinal game. The Wildcats’ victory tops the previous high of 34 points, which has happened twice. Michigan State defeated the University of Pennsylvania 101-67 on March 26, 1979, and Cincinnati beat Oregon State 80-46 on March 23, 1963.
Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield, who had been the star of the NCAA tournament up until this loss, had his worst game of the tournament.
Hield was held to nine points on 4-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-8 from three-point range.
“Just credit [the Wildcats], what they were doing,” Hield said. “Made it tough on me. Throwing a bunch of bodies at me. Just couldn’t get it going.”
Hield also credits Nova’s offense.
“They just played terrific tonight. Sometimes shots were contested, and they made them,” he said. “Hats off to Villanova. They deserved it.”
Villanova’s total points scored
On Saturday against Oklahoma, Villanova scored 95 points. That’s the most in a national semifinal game since Syracuse defeated Texas 95-84 on April 5, 2003. Six Villanova players scored in double figures against Oklahoma.
— 23 points, junior Josh Hart
— 18 points, junior forward Kris Jenkins
— 15 points, senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono
— 11 points, freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges
— 10 points, senior forward Daniel Ochefu
— 10 points, sophomore guard Phil Booth
Villanova lost badly to Oklahoma earlier this season
Another reason why this 44-point drubbing was shocking was because of the previous result against these two teams earlier this season.
On December 7 at Hickam Air Force Base/Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Oklahoma beat Villanova 78-55. The Wildcats never led in that game.
“We saw what they did to us in Pearl Harbor,” Hart said. “We were dialed in defensively, ready to step up for each other. That’s really what we did. We were just so dialed in defensively.”