Villanova left no doubt about who the best team in the nation is Monday night with a dominant win over Michigan.
Well that’s not entirely correct. There is one question: will Donte DiVincenzo ride his brilliant performance to the NBA draft?
Because he was that good.
DiVincenzo came off the bench and scored 31 points. He shot 10-15, hit 5-7 from deep, pulled down five rebounds, passed out three assists and got two blocks one of which was a real stunner.
He still has to prove himself on a deeper level, analytically and medically, but if he wants it? He just earned a shot.
More importantly, Villanova broke a long-standing theory about winning titles.
Old school: you need at least three NBA draft picks.
New school: screw that, you need a tight group of solid, versatile and experienced kids.
There was only one McDonald’s All-American in this game: Jalen Brunson. We thought Charles Matthews was too but apparently not.
It was nice too to see a great performance in the title game. Michigan had a nice start to the game and played sound defense for a while before DiVincenzo and ‘Nova took control of the game.
And it wasn’t just the title game. This whole tournament was magnificent. It touched the pure heart of the game which is still there despite an incredibly ugly stretch.
At its heart, basketball is a pulse of joy. What do you do? You run, pass and share. You grow together. And there’s nothing purer than a team coming together in March, putting everything else aside to keep winning and playing longer.
Just one more game. Sometimes just one more shot. You see how much it matters not just to players but to coaches, to wives, to mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. If you can’t win, you want to drain every second of passion out of March that you possibly can.
And if you can win...
Those kids had that look Monday night. We’ve seen it on Bobby Hurley’s face and Nolan Smith’s. Tyus Jones and Amile Jefferson too.
Everyone wants the same thing in March and only one team can have it. So much of the game - or the process of the game - is fouled. Lately we’ve seen scandals with hookers, with shoe companies, with non-existent classes. We know a lot of what goes on but so much of it is in the shadows that we can’t know and may never fully understand.
This year the FBI looms over the sport like a vulture, ready to pick the meat from the bloated carcass if it can.
The amazing thing is that March is like a cleansing shower. You see beautiful teams like Nevada, Loyola and Buffalo. You see the astounding audacity of UMBC, the team that took Virginia to the cleaners.
You see the heart and the tears and the absolutely pure desire this tournament brings about. You see grown men exult and then be utterly crushed but still have to care for the younger men in their charge.
There’s nothing like it and Villanova is at the top of the hill, worthy champions in every sense. Congratulations for a richly deserved title.
If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! || Drop us a line