Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats came into the 2015 NCAA Tournament as the Big East's regular-season and tournament champions. However, the #1-seeded Wildcats ran into a brick wall in the #8-seeded NC State Wolfpack on Saturday, falling 71-68 in a Round of 32 matchup at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Villanova is the first of the four top seeds to be eliminated this year. This marks the second-straight year that they've been eliminated in the Round of 32.
NC State used stifling defense and an opportunistic transition offense to become the first team since Georgetown (back on January 19th) to upend the Wildcats. Villanova's shooting woes were their Achilles heel all night long, and NC State preyed on Villanova's off night from the field to keep the Wildcats at arm's length for the majority of the contest.
After finishing in the Top 40 in the nation with a 47% field-goal percentage during the regular season, Nova looked nothing like the team whose potent offensive attack dominated the national landscape all season long -- shooting just 30.5% from the field and 30.7% from beyond the arc.
NC State, on the other hand, shot 45.3% from the field. Four of the team's five starters finished in double digits, with junior Trevor Lacey leading all NC State scorers with 17. It almost wasn't enough, however, after three clutch threes by Villanova senior Darrun Hilliard III cut the Wolfpack advantage down to 1 with 1.7 left. However, NC State would hit a couple freebies on the other end to extend the lead back to three before Nova's desperation counterpunch went wanting.
The Wolfpack will now face the winner of Sunday's #5 Northern Iowa/#4 Louisville showdown in the Sweet Sixteen next week.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed