Villanova Upsets North Carolina



(Photo Courtesy of Time)

Nicole Truong, Sports Editor

On April 4th, the Villanova Wildcats upset the North Carolina Tarheels 77-74 to win the NCAA Division I National Championship Title. This is the Wildcats’ first championship title since 1985. With both teams going back and forth all game to hold the lead, the game was ultimately won when Villanova junior forward Kris Jenkins sank a three pointer from down town at the buzzer, as teammates and fans rushed the court at NRG Stadium in Houston.


The North Carolina Tarheels were the favorite to bring home the title. Students, family, and friends from both teams were glued to their screens in one of the most heart stopping performances in professional sports. With North Carolina alum and basketball legend Michael Jordan in attendance to support his alma mater, the Tarheels took the early lead by pounding the glass for rebounds and knocking down three pointers (hitting 7 for 9 for 77.8%), leading the Wildcats 39-34 after the first half. However, with ten lead changes in just the first half alone, no one wrote off the Wildcats just yet.


With 12:49 left in the second half, Villanova surged ahead to grab the lead after a three pointer from sophomore guard Phil Booth to make it 49-46. The Tarheels were never able to regain the lead. Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono kept the momentum going for the Wildcats, scoring nine of Villanova’s next 16 points. With free throws, Booth extended the lead to 67-57 with 5:29 left. Booth, who started the night on the bench, finished with 20 points to lead Villanova


Trying desperately to tie up the game, North Carolina senior guard Marcus Paige, who lead all scorers for the night with 21 points, threw up a double-clutch three pointer to tie the game up, 74-74. With 4.7 seconds left, Villanova ran a play they have worked on every day in practice throughout the season: Jenkins inbounds the ball to Ryan Arcidiacono, he works it up court and forward Daniel Ochefu sets a pick near halfcourt to clutter things up, then Arcidiacono creates. This time, the senior point guard made an underhanded flip to Jenkins, who spotted up a pace or two behind the arc and swished it with Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks running at him. With the buzzer ringing, the crowd roaring and cheering, and the teammates rushing onto the court, one thing could be clear: the Villanova Wildcats had won their second national title in school history.


Senior basketball player Josh Miller (12) stated that, “The game was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe my eyes when that shot went in. I thought we (North Carolina) had a chance to bring the game into overtime.” Regardless of the result, this exciting game will definitely go down in the history books.