Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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."

Wildcats peaking at the right time 04/03/16 [Last modified: Sunday, April 3, 2016 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  2. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  3. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  4. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7

    College

    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.