Defending Champs Villanova Crash Out of NCAA Tournament - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Defending Champs Villanova Crash Out of NCAA Tournament

Villanova, the No. 1 seed overall, had a chance to tied it at 64 but Josh Hart failed in a drive to the basket with 4 seconds to play and lost the ball.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    A feeling of defeat has washed over Villanova's campus after the Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. NBC10's Matt DeLucia is on campus recapping the loss and has details on the coach's feelings towards next year.

    (Published Sunday, March 19, 2017)

    No. 1 and done.

    Top-seeded Villanova was bounced from the NCAA Tournament by eighth-seeded Wisconsin, which overcame foul trouble for two of its stars in the second half Saturday to upset the defending champions 65-62 in the East region.

    Nigel Hayes scored 19 points, dropping a layup in traffic with 11.4 seconds left to put Wisconsin ahead 64-62, and Bronson Koenig added 17 for the tournament-toughened Badgers (27-9), who are going back to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year. They'll play next week at New York's Madison Square Garden after knocking off Villanova (32-4).

    Josh Hart scored 19 to lead Villanova, but the senior guard was stripped by Wisconsin center Ethan Happ on a drive in the final seconds. Wisconsin's Vitto Brown then split a pair of free throws with four seconds left, but Villanova couldn't get off a final shot.

    When the final horn sounded, Wisconsin's red-clad fans erupted in celebration and the Badgers stormed the floor after taking down a No. 1 seed for the third time in four years. Wisconsin beat Arizona in 2014, Kentucky in 2015 and now can add Villanova to its list.

    Flushed with pride, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard hugged his wife and children as the Badgers' pep band played their hearts out.

    For Villanova, it's a bitter end to a great season by the Big East champions, who came into the tournament expected to at least escape the East's bracket but had their hopes busted and will have to relish those moments from last year when they won their first title since 1985.

    Wildcats coach Jay Wright was concerned about Wisconsin, calling them a "great number eight" seed. As it turned out, the Badgers were more than that, as savvy seniors Koenig and Hayes made several key plays in the closing minutes.