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Well, I sure didn’t expect to see Oklahoma get blown out by Villanova like that. Nor did I expect North Carolina to have such an easy time with Syracuse.
After all, March Madness is supposed to be a time for fantastic finishes that make you laugh, then cry, like 17 times in the final two minutes.
Yet the next-to-grandest stage of all turned into one team (the Sooners) getting flattened like a pancake and another (the Orange) not far behind.
Final Score I: Villanova 95, Oklahoma (gasp) 51.
Final Score II: North Carolina 83, Syracuse 66.
Final Four Recap: Good heavens, someone poor us some coffee.
Of course, kudos to Oklahoma and surprising Syracuse on some fine seasons. They just went out with sort of a whimper. Or a massive anxiety attack if you’re Oklahoma.
Oh, by the way, Sooners guard Buddy Hield, who’s expected to be a top-five pick in the NBA draft? He was Hield, er, held to nine points (and 1-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers).
Hield is a nice player and I really like the guy. He seems like a good person, a hard worker, a throwback-type who genuinely loves the game.
But I’m not so sure he’ll be anything more than a marginal pro — emerging from a draft class that appears to promise lots of them.
So it’s on to the Wildcats vs. the Tar Heels.
As Dick Jerardi wrote of Villanova in the Philadelphia Daily News:
It was 54-41. Exactly 5:18 later, it was 79-41. When does that happen?
This was not some directional school getting big money to lose badly in November. This was Oklahoma and Player of the Year Buddy Hield on the first Saturday in April. This was not supposed to happen, but it did.
And as David Allen Jr. wrote in The Daily Tar Heel:
It’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season. But that’s what the North Carolina men’s basketball team accomplished Saturday evening when they defeated Syracuse 83-66 and secured a spot in the national championship.
Villanova. North Carolina. Monday night. National championship. I’m going with the Tar Heels.
Right or wrong … well, let’s just hope it has more drama than the games it took both teams to get there.