As Scottie Reynolds’ game-winning shot trickled down through the nets Saturday night, my NCAA Tournament bracket was set ablaze.
Not literally, of course, but Villanova knocked out the team I picked to win the national title – Pittsburgh.
The Wildcats won, 78-76, on a driving Reynolds’ layup with 0.5 seconds remaining. Levance Fields flung a near full-court heave that had a good chance to go in, but it banged off the backboard at the buzzer.
Got to feel for the Panthers. They get past the Sweet 16, finally, and then fall to Villanova, but their style of play leaves little margin for error.
So going 21-of-29 from the free-throw line cost them the game. Villanova was nearly perfect from the charity stripe: 22-of-23.
Only two of my Final Four predictions are alive: Louisville and Oklahoma.
Not worried about the Cardinals in Sunday’s Midwest Regional final against Michigan State. Sure the Spartans defend, but Louisville will speed the game up and eventually run away with it.
As for the Sooners, Blake Griffin has been the best player in the tournament, but North Carolina, with Ty Lawson looking healthy and playing even better, is the most talented team in the country.
Even so, Oklahoma is good enough to pull it off in the South Regional final Sunday. Then again, I thought Pitt and Washington would make it to the Final Four so what do I know?