For the second time in three years, Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats are national champions.
It started out slow with Michigan leading by as much as seven in the first half. Moritz Wagner got off to a hot start with 11 points while the Wildcats couldn’t find their magic 3-point touch they had on Saturday, only going 1 for 9 from behind the arc.
But that’s when Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo changed all of that. Coming off the bench, he steered the momentum in favor of Villanova and kickstarted a 23-7 run to give Nova a nine-point halftime lead en route to a 79-62 win. He scored 31 points on 66% shooting, joining Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in that elite club for a Final Four game.
Mikal Bridges finished with 19 points and Omari Spellman had eight points and 11 boards. Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 23 points and Wagner finished with 16. The Cats also out-rebounded Michigan 38 to 27 in the dominant effort. Villanova also became the fourth team to win all of their NCAA Tournament games by 10 or more points.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m still surprised at the lack of excitement over the win, and even the hype leading up to the game. I know there’s the debate on whether or not Nova is a Philly school (I say yes), and everybody knew Nova would win by a fairly large margin. But Philadelphia has their second championship in under two months. Even if it’s for just a day and not a week like the Eagles Super Bowl win, let’s celebrate just a little?
Villanova students can celebrate a little longer. They don’t have classes today.
2018-19 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament winner
North Carolina 12/1
Michigan St 15/1
West Virginia 30/1
Texas Tech 40/1
Wichita St 40/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) April 3, 2018
Enjoy this year’s One Shining Moment, which is a very underrated yearly tradition.
The Sixers look for their 11th straight win tonight as they host the Brooklyn Nets at 7 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia. They will do so without Dario Saric for the second straight game, and possibly more.
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin. He reportedly suffered it last Wednesday diving for a ball against the Knicks. Recovery is usually 7-10 days, so he could be back for Cleveland on Friday.
So what did we learn about the Sixers without two of their top three players?
With the growth of Ben Simmons on the court, his leadership off the court is also showing growth.
“He’s just using it (his voice) more,” Brett Brown said. “He isn’t a man of many words. And it’s fine, everybody leads in different ways. But when he’s got something to say, he says it and people hear that.”
On one hand, Simmons is only 21 years old. He has played only 75 games his entire NBA career and is the lone rookie in the starting lineup.
On the other hand, none of that has mattered in a dominating first season.
“He’s able to lead through example a lot, which certainly helps the package,” Brown said.
Charles Barkley thinks the Sixers are next to win a championship. And it happens this year:
Charles Barkley: "Let me make a prediction. The Eagles won, Villanova won. The 76ers are going to win the championship." pic.twitter.com/mfhbd3Kxhp
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) April 3, 2018
The Flyers are looking to trim their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to one point as they take on the New York Islanders tonight in Brooklyn. Puck drop is 7 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia +. Anthony recaps Sunday’s big win over Boston.
Florida defeated Carolina last night, but the Flyers could still clinch with a win or overtime loss and a Panthers loss to Nashville.
Petr Mrazek is expected to start, but his play may dictate how much of Brian Elliott we may seen before the regular season ends.
With Elliott as their primary netminder over December, January, and February, the Flyers played like an elite team. It has been a bumpy ride since — Neuvirth following Elliott with a lower-body injury of his own, Mrazek struggling after a nice start with his new team, Lyon earning points with his efforts but seemingly not the coach’s confidence.
So, the GM was asked Monday, would the Flyers be willing to risk an opportunity to grab a higher seed in order to shake some of the rust Elliott has accrued after almost seven weeks on the shelf?
“We can’t even speculate on that,” [Ron] Hextall said. “We need to put the best team on the ice each night that gives us the best a chance to win. If we clinch it becomes a little bit different, but you still have positioning there.
“Certainly it’s going to be a conversation. He’s practiced hard. He feels pretty good, so… it’s no different than getting another player in who has been out. If we can get him in, great. But it’s got to be best for the team.”
There was plenty of other injury news Hextall delivered:
Injury report from Hexy:
Raffl is healthy
Elliott is close
Oduya is healthy
Phil Myers: 3 weeks, lower-body
Samuel Morin: 1-2 weeks, lower-body
Anthony Stolarz: rehabbing until the team comes back from road trip, but not long-term injury.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) April 2, 2018
Why has Dave Hakstol recently gone away from Robert Hagg?
Make sure you listen to our new podcast, Snow the Goalie, where Anthony talks to defenseman Travis Sanheim.
Yesterday’s Phillies-Mets game was postponed due to snow. They’ll make that up in a doubleheader on July 9.
When snow forces the postponement of the Phillies game which also means we won't see eight relievers appear for one more day. pic.twitter.com/y7sbU25DbR
— Chris Jastrzembski (@CFJastrzembski) April 2, 2018
The two teams play tonight at 7:10 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s website, the first of two straight online-only games. If you’re outside of Philly or New York, you can watch this game on MLB Network. Ben Lively will face Matt Harvey on the mound.
Could the Braves series be a sign of things to come for Gabe Kapler?
Doug Pederson will throw out the first pitch at Thursday’s home opener against the Marlins. Kane Kalas, the son of the late Harry Kalas, will sing the national anthem and the Phillies will honor Roy Halladay.
The Eagles’ offseason program gets started April 16, with OTAs beginning in late May. Mandatory minicamp takes place from June 12 until June 14.
Looking at their salary cap, the Eagles are emphasizing the importance of having a great offensive and defensive line.
In other sports news, the Houston Astros had some trouble unveiling their World Series banner:
— #JayAndDan (@JayAndDan) April 3, 2018
Edwin Encarnacion hit an inside the park home run.
THAT JUST HAPPENED! WOW!
EDWIN ENCARNACION HITS AN INSIDE THE PARK HOME RUN!!
— CS Nation (@_CSNation_) April 3, 2018
Gonzaga will stay in the West Coast Conference and not move to the Mountain West.
East Tennessee State’s football head coach Randy Sanders has been suspended for hitting a player. He’s also under investigation.
Purdue’s special teams coordinator left his job to open a Chick-fil-A. I don’t blame him one bit.
In the news, Meek Mill won’t get out on bail as he appeals his sentence of a parole violation. Judge Genece E. Brinkley will not recuse herself from the case.
Panera Bread is the latest company to suffer a data breach.
Wall Street wants President Trump to not do anything to Amazon.