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Villanova’s Historically Great Three-Point Shooting Earned The Wildcats A Spot In The Title Game

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The Kansas Jayhawks are a very good basketball team. On Saturday night, just about nothing that they did — especially on the defensive end — mattered at all, because the Villanova Wildcats completely obliterated them to earn their second trip to the national championship game in three years. The Wildcats ended up walking off the floor with a 95-79 win.

Villanova’s recipe for success was simple. The Wildcats were going to play like an NBA team, spacing the Jayhawks out and letting it fly from three. On the year, the Wildcats were 14th nationally from behind the three-point arc, and nearly 40 percent of the points they scored on the year came from downtown, so it wasn’t a surprise that they would try to connect on triples.

This lead to Villanova tying the Final Four record for made three-point field goals with 13. It managed to do that in the first half.

The Wildcats just bombarded Kansas, finishing the night 18-for-40 from three and 36-for-65 from the field. Six Villanova players made at least two triples, led by four from forward Eric Paschall, who was 10-for-11 from the field on the night. Paschall unsurprisingly led the Wildcats in scoring with 24 points.

He, obviously, wasn’t alone in carving up Kansas’ defense. Jalen Brunson had 18 points and six assists; Omari Spellman had 15 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks; and Donte DiVincenzo had 15 points and eight rebounds. It was as well-rounded of a performance as you’ll see out of a team offensively in the NCAA Tournament and marked the fourth time in five Tournament games that the Wildcats exceeded 80 points.

Kansas competed all game, but just had no answer for the offensive efficiency we saw out of Villanova. The Jayhawks’ marvelous senior guard Devonte’ Graham scored a team-high 23 points, while Malik Newman dropped 21.

But every time Kansas chipped away a little, Villanova had an answer. It was the kind of thing you expect to see out of a 1-seed against a 16-seed, not against another team that started the Tournament atop one of their regions. With the win, the Wildcats will advance to play Michigan in a matchup of the nation’s best offense against the third-best defense in America, per KenPom. Villanova should enter the game as the favorite, but the Wolverines won’t go down without a fight.

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