Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

Wildcats peaking at the right time

HOUSTON — It has been Jay Wright's customary answer every year when he is asked about Villanova's goals.

You will never hear him say what you anticipate a coach in his position would: a Big Five championship, the Big East regular-season title, the conference championship, a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, his stock saying is, "We want to be the best team we can be by the end of the season."

The success of the 2015-16 Villanova season has been a lot easier to measure. The Wildcats (34-5) have made it all the way to the final game, the one for the national championship, against top seed North Carolina (33-6) tonight at NRG Stadium.

There doesn't seem to be much doubt that the Cats were at their ultimate best Saturday night when they demolished Oklahoma 95-51 in the semifinals. The 44-point margin was the most in Final Four history, and their 71.4 percent shooting from the field was second behind the 78.6 percent mark in Villanova's win over Georgetown for the national title in 1985.

As his team prepares for the tall and talented Tar Heels, Wright says the Wildcats have been on an upward track throughout their deep NCAA run.

"I do think that this team has taken advantage of the opportunity to play games and has gotten better," he said Sunday. "Even going into the Oklahoma game, I thought we had our best week of practice in terms of commitment to detail.

"We're going to try this one more time here right after this (news conference) and see if we can get a little bit better. In that sense, it's the best team we've ever had in terms of continuing to get better. I thought our '09 Final Four team did that. I think this team is doing the same."

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