Villanova’s Unsuccessfully Successful Season
The Villanova Wildcats had a strong 2014-2015 season.
The Villanova Wildcats had a strong 2014-2015 season, but for many it can be seen as unsuccessful. They headed into Saturday nights game 33-2, a new program record for wins in a season. They earned a #2 seed overall and a #1 seed in the East Region after winning the regular season and conference tournament for the Big East. The Wildcats entered the NCAA tournament quarterfinals strong after winning 16 consecutive games.
Unfortunately, that was not the confident, dominant team that showed up against No. 8 seed North Carolina State Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center. The Wildcats fell to the Wolfpack 71-68. Senior Darrun Hilliard finished with 27 points as JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 points and six rebounds, but it was an off night for the team as a whole.
Villanova got off to a slow start, shooting 8-of-28 from the field (.286) in the first 20 minutes. Hilliard and freshman guard Phil Booth combined to connect on 6-of-11 from the field while the rest of the team was 2-of-17. Despite the slow start, the Wolfpack only led 32-38 at the half and out rebounded the Wildcats 21-15.
They shot 19 for 61 (31%) and 9 of 28 (32%) from three point range. The Wildcats only grabbed 32 boards, whereas NC State finished with 45 rebounds. The Wolfpack also edged VU 34-14 on points scored in the paint. The Wildcats kept fighting as Hilliard scored consecutive 3-pointers to cut the margin down to two with 40 seconds left, but it was not enough.
Although it was a great game to watch, it did not end favorably for the #1 seed. Villanova has not made it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament or done well since their Final Four run in 2009 behind Scottie Reynolds made a game- winning floater against Pitt just before the buzzer. They are now 3-5 in five appearances, losing for a third time in that stretch as a 1 or 2 seed. However, Coach Wright and the Wildcats are full of optimism. Many teams struggle in the post season. The Wildcats have won back-to-back Big East championships and for the first time in 20 years won the Conference Tournament. They will not let the last few years define the program or belittle all of its success.
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