The comeback kids: The Wildcats have been a resilient bunch. They rallied from 18 down to beat Clemson, the third time they've come back from more than a 15-point deficit. They trailed DePaul by 16 and won 76-69 and were down by 21 to LSU and won 68-67. Said Wright of his youthful, precocious team: "They don't know they're not supposed to win. … They just love to play. They love to play hard and they're really fun to coach."
The Fisher King: Siena reserve senior guard Tay Fisher has scored 40 in 40 minutes over his past two games. That includes hitting 12 of 16 3-pointers (he made all six against Vanderbilt). "I'm just playing," he said. "I know that every game could be my last, and it could definitely be the last time wearing a jersey and being a Siena Saint, so I'm just trying to go out there and play as best as I can."
What do you think of me now?: Saints sophomore guard Ronald Moore is from outside of Philadelphia but wasn't recruited by Villanova, a school he watched on TV and imagined playing for one day. But then the other Philly schools showed no interest in him, either. "They kind of said I was undersized," said the 6-foot, 159-pounder. "But I guess I'm out here to prove them wrong."
Toeing the line: Villanova was a solid free-throw shooting team during the season (second in the Big East at 72.3 percent). It was even better on Friday, hitting 24-of-29 (82.8 percent).
A crazy day and night at the St. Pete Times Forum has left Villanova as the lone "name" left standing here, and certainly one with a far more storied tradition than Siena. ¶ "The way our team has been all year, to hear us called the "marquee" team right now is funny," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "In this tournament now, seriously, you can't say favorites. … We don't feel like favorites." ¶ Sorry, coach; you may want to play the underdog card as you did against No. 5-seeded Clemson on Friday, but you're in the powerful Big East and you'll be expected to win.
As a No. 14 seed, the Saints stunned No. 3 Stanford 80-78 in the first round in 1989. Marc Brown had 32 points, including two free throws with three seconds left.
"In some ways, it's probably viewed as an upset, but at the same time, when we walked off the floor victorious, it wasn't a surprise to any of us, by any means." — Fran McCaffery on Friday's 83-62 win against Vanderbilt.
About the school
Location: Loudonville, N.Y.
Famous alumni: The Scrittore Case co-author Thomas Stanton; actor Ron Vawter (Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs, Sex, Lies, and Videotape); Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy
No. Player Pos GP Min Pts Reb
00 Chris De La Rosa G 32 9.3 2.4 0.6
4 Tay Fisher G 33 17.6 8.1 1.2
12 Josh Duell F 30 23.1 5.4 3.2
13 Clarence Jackson G 27 8.7 3.7 1.3
21 James Carr C 9 1.9 0.2 0.2
22 Ryan Rossiter F 33 11.1 2.0 2.9
23 Edwin Ubiles G 33 33.1 17.1 4.1
24 Cory Magee C 32 11.6 1.5 2.7
25 Ronald Monroe G 33 32.0 8.8 4.2
32 Eric Hayes C 13 2.5 0.2 0.9
41 Kenny Hasbrouck G 33 31.7 16.0 3.3
42 Alex Franklin F 28 29.1 15.0 7.9
43 Steven Priestley F 15 4.9 1.1 0.8
Coach: Fran McCafferyRecord: 23-10
USF COACH STAN HEATH SAYS … : "You always know there's the possibility of an upset, because all the lower seeds are champions of their conferences. But the way Siena dominated their game was very surprising to anyone watching. They have great offensive skilled players, and they're a well-oiled machine. But I like Villanova's ability to battle you. They showed a lot, being 18 down, weathering the storm and getting back to beat a good Clemson team. Villanova won't take anyone lightly, and I think they have the edge in this game."
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
The Wildcats culminated an improbable run to the 1985 national championship with a near-flawless shooting performance (22-of-28 from the field, 22-of-27 from the line) in a 66-64 win against Georgetown.
"It's almost too comfortable being around everybody and you know you've got to go to battle (Sunday). It's really surreal." — Jay Wright on the many ties between his team and Siena.
About the school
Location: Villanova, Pa.
Famous alumni: Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, U.S. Central Command; broadcaster and Hall of Fame football player Howie Long; singer Jim Croce
No. Player Pos GP Min Pts Reb
0 Antonio Pena F 33 19.6 7.1 4.3
1 Scottie Reynolds G 33 32.3 15.7 2.9
3 Malcolm Grant G 28 13.0 5.8 0.8
4 Jason Colenda G 4 1.8 0.0 0.3
5 Casiem Drummond C 20 13.8 5.0 4.7
10 Corey Fisher G 32 22.2 9.4 1.8
15 Reggie Redding G 33 20.5 4.7 2.5
20 Shane Clark F 30 22.3 7.0 4.3
22 Dwayne Anderson G/F 28 20.7 6.4 4.9
24 Corey Stokes G 33 17.8 6.0 2.5
33 Dante Cunningham F 33 30.0 10.3 6.5
42 Frank Tchuisi F 7 1.7 0.4 0.6
Coach: Jay WrightRecord: 21-12