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SPORTS
March 24, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - The scene in the losing locker room after an NCAA tournament game is always the same, and this is how it was Saturday night in the Consol Energy Center: Each player on the Villanova roster, seated and slumped, each one's face blank, each one's body folded into a wooden cubicle as if they were all dolls stuffed and stacked on a child's closet shelf. The silence in the room is always the most cutting thing, because for some of these kids - and they are still kids, despite the pomp and the attention and the billions of dollars made on their backs - college basketball is over for them.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Josh Hart was the Big East's sixth man of the year and its postseason tournament's most outstanding player, yet it was only recently that his Villanova teammates stopped making fun of him. A sophomore guard, Hart has always thought of himself as a shooter. He has, said Villanova assistant coach Baker Dunleavy, "amazing confidence," even during his freshman season, when he made just 31 percent of his three-point attempts. It was that amazing confidence, and the Wildcats' opponents' total disregard for it, that led to all the teasing.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Abdul-Malik Abu just kept jumping. This kid from Boston may still be jumping. We can confirm Villanova had five players on the Consol Energy Center court at the time, but that basketball coming off the rim was glued to Abu's hands first because they were highest and closest. Both of Villanova's starting big men were on the floor, lower to the ground. That's the play that should stick to the torture column of 'Nova's NCAA history even though it only resulted in one point after a free throw.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015
PITTSBURGH - North Carolina State is exactly the kind of opponent No. 1 seeds get in their second NCAA Tournament game - good enough to overwhelm Duke 2 months ago, 87-75, and bad enough to lose at Boston College, 79-63, on Feb. 28, talented enough to win at Louisville and North Carolina, inconsistent enough to lose to Wofford and Wake Forest. The Wolfpack is more athletic than any team Villanova has played all season. It has two shooters who have combined to make 163 threes.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Villanova hasn't made it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament since its Final Four run in 2009. Here are their last five tournament peformances. Season   Record   Seed   Exit    '09-10   25-8   2   vs. (10) St. Mary's, 3d round    '10-11   21-12   9   vs. (8) George Mason, 2d round '12-13   20-14   9   vs. (8) N. Carolina, 2d round    '13-14   29-5   2   vs. (7) Connecticut, 3d round    '14-15   33-3   1   vs.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - The game Villanova hoped would never arrive - the one in which shots refused to fall and an athletic opponent exposed the Wildcats' vulnerability around the basket - showed up unexpectedly Saturday night. Things happen just that quickly in the NCAA tournament, and now Villanova is out, having lost, 71-68, to a North Carolina State team so unpredictable it went two months without winning back-to-back games. The Wolfpack were plenty consistent against Villanova, however, but the outcome was built from bricks at the Wildcats' offensive end. Villanova always needs good play on the perimeter, and the three-point shot is a large part of the offense.
SPORTS
March 23, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - This was the year Villanova was supposed to wipe out the memories of past failures and finally get over the hump to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since its Final Four season of 2009. The Wildcats had missed as a No. 2 seed twice - in 2010 and last season. Certainly their chances for advancing to the Sweet 16 would be better as a No. 1 seed. But instead of moving on, the Wildcats are going home. They suffered through one of their worst shooting games of the season and were unable to come up with key defensive rebounds down the stretch Saturday night in a 71-68 upset loss to No. 8 seed North Carolina State in an NCAA East Regional third-round matchup at Consol Energy Center.
SPORTS
March 22, 2015 | By MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
PITTSBURGH - In 2010, after Villanova lost to St. Mary's in its second game in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed, Jay Wright talked about how that wouldn't be such a good thing at a lot of schools. But by that point, he'd certainly banked more than enough credibility chips on the Main Line: four trips to the second week in the previous five seasons, including one run to the Final Eight and a spot in the national semifinals in 2009. And all four times, the Wildcats had been eliminated by the eventual champion.
SPORTS
March 22, 2015 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Villanova's players, coaches, and staff sat in a hotel meeting room after their victory over Lafayette, watching television and waiting for their next opponent in the NCAA East Regional to step forward. North Carolina State hung around Thursday night until one-tenth of a second remained to take that step when BeeJay Anya's shot in the lane lingered on the rim and dropped in for his team's only lead of the second half. The 66-65 win over Louisiana State meant a third-round matchup Saturday night against the top-seeded Wildcats at Consol Energy Center.
SPORTS
March 22, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
PITTSBURGH - Villanova center Daniel Ochefu was just playing, not really aware of the numbers on the scoreboard. "Their coach called a timeout," Ochefu said, and so he looked up at the board Thursday at the Consol Energy Center, kind of focused in, and was surprised to see Villanova up by "26 or 28," the senior said. "A nice little run. " Villanova takes off on those nice ones so often they almost seem scheduled. It wasn't just Lafayette that fell victim in its NCAA East Regional mismatch.
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