March Madness sure is a fitting name for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament, especially with the results seen as of Monday night’s National Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels. The game was competitive throughout, both teams making runs posing threats to expand their lead, but a lead remained just that throughout the game, nothing but a threat. A lead wasn’t even visible in this nail biter of a game until the final 90 seconds. This made for this matchup to be considered one of the best, if not the best, title game moments in NCAA men’s basketball tournament history, let alone basketball history!
With one minute and fifty-two seconds remaining in the game, North Carolina cut a 10-point Villanova lead down to 6. Then, Brice Johnson, who had been torching the Villanova defense all night, nails a 3-pointer, making for a 3 point ball game. Sure-handed, senior Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono commits an unlikely turnover and North Carolina responds with a jumper, cutting the lead to 1 point with just over 60 seconds remaining. After a pair of sunk free throws by Villanova, North Carolina looked to their senior leader, Marcus Paige, to take over the game. Paige was able to rebound his own missed shot and convert a layup, putting Villanova up 1 point with just 22 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, North Carolina fouled and Villanova converted the free throws once again.
Now, down three points with possession of the ball, North Carolina went back to Paige to make a scoring play to remain alive in the closing seconds of the game. Villanova big man, Daniel Ochefu, went for a steal on the pass to Paige and came up empty, allowing Paige to gather possession of the ball, dribble, and pull up for a double-clutch, contested, improbable three-pointer. Just like that, the game was tied with 4.7 seconds remaining. The momentum had completely shifted to North Carolina and the game looked poised to go to overtime.
Inbounding under North Carolina’s hoop, Villanova had to go the length of the court for a shot attempt. Kris Jenkins inbounded the ball to Arcidiacono and he raced up the court under pressure from North Carolina defenders as the clock was rapidly approaching 0:00. Jenkins trailed Arcidiacono and screamed his name, alerting Arcidiacono to Jenkins trailing the play. Without Jenkins communication on the play, Arcidiacono would have had to attempt a heavily contested shot. However, Arcidiacono flipped the ball behind to Jenkins, allowing Jenkins to attempt a deep, open, 3-pointer as the clock expired, the ball just barely left his hands before the buzzer. The shot sunk. Villanova crowned the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball national champions.
The final score was 77-74. This is Villanova’s second national championship, their first back in 1985. It is stories like these, of true motivation through trial and tribulation that inspire Activ8Media, forever pushing forward in seeking to expand our client base to motivated individuals, companies, and athletes looking to exceed and surpass all goals and expectations.
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