SAN ANTONIO (AP) — They chanted his name from the cheap seats: “Di-Vin-cen-zo, Di-Vin-cen-zo.” By the time Donte DiVincenzo was done doing his damage, Villanova had another title and college basketball had its newest star.
The redhead kid with the nickname Big Ragu scored 31 points Monday to lift ‘Nova to another blowout tournament victory — this time 79-62 over Michigan for its second title in three seasons.
The sophomore guard had 12 points and an assist during a first-half run to help the Wildcats (36-4) pull ahead, then scored nine straight for Villanova midway through the second to put the game away — capped by a 3-pointer he punctuated with a wink over to TV announcers Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery on the sideline.
Villanova won all six games by double digits over this tournament run, joining Michigan State (2000), Duke (2001) and North Carolina (2009) in that rare air.
One key question: Could this be one of the best teams of all-time?
Maybe so, considering the way Jay Wright’s team dismantled everyone in front of it in a tournament that was dripping with upsets, underdogs and parity.
Maybe so, considering the Wildcats won in seemingly every way imaginable. This victory came two nights after they set a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers, and one week after they relied more on defense in a win over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.
That debate’s for later.
DiVincenzo squashed any questions about this game with a 10-for-15 shooting night that was better than that.
He opened his game-sealing run with an around-the-back dribble to get to the hoop and get fouled. On the other end, he delivered a two-handed rejection of Michigan’s Charles Matthews, when Matthews tried to bring it into the paint.
The 3 that sealed it came from a big step behind the arc; yes, the man was feeling it.
About the only drama as the night closed was whether DiVincenzo could unwrap himself from his teammates’ mob hug to toss the ball underhanded toward the scoreboard. He succeeded there, too.
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