This was not one of those nights.
The 3 that sealed it came from a big step behind the arc and gave Villanova a 62-44 lead with 7:58 left. As he walked to the locker room after the loss to MI, he told senior Ben Richardson to "keep that head high walking through here because you changed the direction of this whole program". Jordan Poole labored through tears.
The more you want something for your team, your coach, your school, the harder the end.
Washington, a MI basketball assistant coach, returned home Tuesday after the Wolverines' 79-62 national championship loss to Villanova.
Yet Beilein was at peace.
"But the best team won and I'm actually happy they won a little bit because we don't really speak that other team's name around here".
The coach will lose no sleep this offseason. The Wildcats weren't as scorching Monday, hitting 10 out of 27 threes. With the Wildcats' 79-62 win over MI in the Alamodome on Monday night, Wright joined Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams as the only active coaches with multiple NCAA titles.
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DiVincenzo's 31 points came on an uber-efficient 15 shots, earning him the championship game's Most Outstanding Player award.
No one was toppling Villanova. Donte DiVincenzo, who is Italian and redheaded and a good sport for accepting Fox broadcaster Gus Johnson's sobriquet, can enter the NCAA men's national championship game and shred every piece of an effective MI game plan with a steely performance.
And the lame game became pretty one-sided early on, which is reflected in these earliest-available Nielsen numbers. "We played you the best we could, and tonight, you were better than us'". There were closer games in terms of points, and there were more intense finishes. ESPN draft scribe Jonathan Givony rated him as only the 63rd-best prospect in this year's potential class before the NCAA tournament, and another year with the Wildcats - this time as a starter - could be even more beneficial to his credentials than his massive game against MI.
Senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led MI with 23 points, while junior Moritz (Moe) Wagner had 16. Wagner declined to tip his hand, saying, "This night has nothing to do with next year". The extension to the current deal - for a combined total rights fee of $8.8 billion - will keep the big game at Turner and CBS until 2032. While he's not landing top recruiting classes, it is not like he's winning with mid-major talent.
A championship force? If this year proved anything, a team can dream. After that loss, the Wildcats beat Seton Hall 69-68 in overtime and then peeled off 10 consecutive wins by 10 points or more.
But DiVincenzo and coach Jay Wright's Wildcats adjusted and ran away, turning the final minutes into a dismal exercise for the frustrated Wolverines. To have this opportunity to tell them, this is life. "You have these highlights, and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, your season is over, and there's sadness".