Scottie Reynolds sealed Villanova’s Final Four destiny with a kiss when he floated the game winning shot to expire top-seeded Pittsburgh’s season on Saturday night.
And on Sunday, Ty Lawson dished an all-you-can eat buffet to Okalahoma. The Sooners couldn’t handle seconds as North Carolina ravaged their way into the Final Four.
But, this Saturday’s match up isn’t about the Final Four; it’s about two teams -- Villanova and North Carolina.
History clearly favors the Tar Heels who are making their fourth Final Four appearance this decade -- 18th appearance overall. The last remaining team on Tobacco Road also comes in slated as the top dog and are hungry to redeem themselves after last season’s Final Four loss to Kansas.
Villanova, on the other hand, is the main team on the Main Line and that’s about it as far as national accomplishments go. Their lone NCAA championship was in 1985 when fate “Rollied” the Wildcats through the tournament and passed the Kong of ball, Patrick Ewing and his kingdom of Georgetown.
But this is 2009 and even though Lawson (16.3 points per game, 6.5 assists per game) and Tyler Hansbourgh (20.9 ppg, 8 rebounds per game) are All-ACC conference players.
Nova counters with two gems of their own, Reynolds (15.2 ppg, 1.6 steals per game) and Dante Cunningham (16.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg), who can go head-to-head with the bury-you-alive duo from Carolina.
Saturday’s game in Detroit will be a free for all with both teams fighting for a chance at the national title. Expect the Tar Heels to put up points, but probably not their usual 90 a game because Nova’s defense holds opponents to under 67 points per contest. Although Nova averages just 77 points a game, UNC’s defense has been questionable surrendering more than 72 points to their foes.
Numbers aside, this game is about heart -- there will be plenty of it from both benches.
Coaching and talent-wise, UNC may get the nod but that will mean nothing come game time when the Wildcats of Philadelphia will show no brotherly love.
This will be a game for the ages. If Jay Wright’s Wildcats beat Roy Williams and his Tar Heels then Villanova will gain their rightful place as one of college basketball’s elite programs.