These were two very gifted but different teams with a singular purpose: win the national championship game. The first, a #1 seed seeking its sixth title in ten attempts – a big school with dominating “Bigs,” a big-time coach, and the greatest player to ever play the sport, looking on. The second, a #2 seed in its first trip to finals since they won it in ‘85 – a smaller school; players fast and furious; strong but outgunned Bigs led by their great 15-year coach with their beloved retired coach from the ‘85 championship, looking on.
Down 5 (as expected) at the end of the first half, the underdogs went up by 5 at 10:26 left, and by 10 at 5:29. But that meant little as the favored team fought back, cutting the lead to 3 points. And with 4.7 seconds left, the top seed’s guard drained a spectacular 3-pointer to tie the game at 74, Jordan looking on. And then it happened. Up the court, fast and furious, a pass from the team’s floor leader, the “Villanova Kid,” playing in his final game. A fraction of a second left on the clock, and the underdog’s cold-blooded 6'6" forward collects the pass and drains this biggest of shots, a magical 3-pointer to win the biggest game on the basketball planet 77-74. A buzzer beater. Their victorious coach cool, calm and collected. The legendary emeritus coach who won the same game 36 years before, looking on, jubilant. National championship, Villanova!