The Villanova rout of the Oklahoma Sooners in the first game of the 2016 Final Four didn’t start out as a Villanova rout. The Sooners’ star player, Buddy Hield put his team up 3-0 when he drained his first shot attempt of the game. It looked as though it was going to be another game where the best shooter in college basketball was able to carry his team to a win. That was until the Wildcats showed the dominating fashion of basketball they’ve had all tournament, went on a 21-4 run, and the Villanova rout was a reality.
The Wildcats were able to stage the rout mainly by being as lights out from the field as Hield has been most of the season. Villanova head coach Jay Wright seemed as surprised at how badly the Wildcats beat Oklahoma in the Final Four game as anyone. Hot shooting doesn’t begin to describe what happened in the rout staged by Villanova. According to Fox Sports, Wright’s team missed just five shots in the entire second half.
“That was just one of those nights, I feel bad for Oklahoma,” Wright said after the game.
It’s a safe bet Hield and his teammates felt sorry for themselves as well, considering the Sooners lost by 44 points. The Villanova rout is now the largest margin of victory ever posted in a Final Four game. Considering both teams had played some of their best basketball of the season, it’s a bit surprising the Big 12 representative team couldn’t muster a better performance when they were just one step away from the championship game. While this was hardly the down to the wire, nail biter we’ve seen during the rest of the tournament, perhaps a 40+ point blowout underlines March Madness almost as well.
While Villanova head coach Jay Wright said he felt sorry for his opponents after the rout, social media was far from kind to the Sooners following the blowout. Twitter went wild with all sorts of posts making fun of just how poor they performed. The Villanova rout brought out the tearful Michael Jordan meme, this time using photoshop to put him on the Sooners’ squad. Some Villanova fans were quick to point out the rout meant that Oklahoma got to feel the same kind of pain the Wildcats felt last year. They didn’t lose by 40 points, but they did fall to a team they thought they should have been able to beat.
This contest, while it was certainly different than the last time the Wildcats’ fans were this excited, has brought plenty of comparisons to the last time the school made the NCAA Finals. 31 years ago, in 1985 the team wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the Final Four, let alone the championship game. They also weren’t expected to beat Georgetown, but they managed to do that as well. This time around, depending on who wins the matchup between North Carolina and Syracuse, the Wildcats will likely be the favorite. There aren’t any number one seeds left in the tourney and Villanova might have been the closest second seed to getting the higher slot in the field.
With the Villanova rout, the team gets to sit back and wait for its opponent. Should Syracuse get the victory, Villanova will be looking to rout a team it knows quite well given that both squads were facing off against each other in the Big East. Even if the next opponent is North Carolina, we’ll just have to sit back and wait to see if another Villanova rout is on the horizon.
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