1. Say what you will about Vitto Brown, but what he lacks in consistency, he makes up for in timing. He picked a great day to have his best game of the season. For the love of God, CBS needs to allow him to sing "One Shining Moment" before the game on Friday.
2. For Nigel to play 39 minutes and make the game winning shot... well... he was the man today. Obviously with Happ and BK unavailable he had to step up and he did in a big way. There's not much else to say, other than he was the main reason we won the game.
3. Kahlil Iverson had 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 turnovers in 22 minutes of play. On paper, that's the very definition of a pedestrian game. But when you factor in his tough last few weeks, his inconsistent playing time, how aggressive Villanova was with him whenever he touched the ball, and how poor Trice was playing for most of the game; those 22 minutes were absolutely invaluable. There were a few times where he looked like he was on verge of cracking under pressure, but he kept it together and allowed us to hang around until Happ and BK could come back in.
4. I really like the timeout by Gard to set up the final play. I think that anyone who has scouted us knows that in that situation knows that we're 99% likely to let BK hold the ball and he create his best shot. Going to Hayes seemed like a best of both worlds play. First of all, it seemed to catch Nova off guard. Secondly, it gave is more options. The way the play was run, if Nigel gets double teamed, Bronson is going to get a clean look from the spot where he has been hot all day. If they don't double team, he's going to get a respectable shot. (If they foul him... well... let's not think about that.) Of course I may be saying this in hindsight because it worked, but whatever. We won.
5. I like Jay Wright as a coach and I sorta enjoy Villanova in general. My theory is that when Villanova is up, it means despicable programs like Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette and UConn are typically down. That being said, when you have one timeout left, using it to ice the free throw shooter is idiotic. It's obviously more valuable to save it for if Vitto misses the free throw. I'd be shocked if you could find a single coach who agreed with Wright's decision to call timeout there.
6. I have no idea what Gard told Nigel and Vitto to do if the last free throw was missed, but it sure as hell looked the call was to be as aggressive as you can with the rebounder, and if you foul him, so be it. I was already thinking that if Nova somehow got a chance to inbound the ball (off a lane violation or whatever), that the Badgers should be fouling. Regardless, I thought they defended the final play perfectly.
7. If you make a shot and let the ball hit your head after it goes through the net, it's not a delay of game. Reason #1869 that Pat Driscoll and his crew can blow me.
8. Over the past few days, I was having a little back-and-forth with former Gopher Trevor Mbakwe on Twitter. Obviously, when I got the last laugh today, I let him know about it. He took it pretty well. My last response was "any guy who left the Marquette Basketball is OK in my book." His response: "you can blame Tom Crean for that one." I think I have a new favorite Gopher.
9. This was my #9 after the Ohio State game: Perspective time... we are very likely to finish in second place in the B10. Throughout the season, it has been proven no less than two dozen times that, other than Rutgers, basically any team can beat any other team. As of tonight, we are not trending in the right direction, but I expect that to change in the coming week. At it's core, basketball is still a game where the result cane be determined by maybe 3-6 little things that happen throughout the game. This is especially true when teams have similar talent levels. As of late, we've just been on the short end of those 3-6 things. Some of that is definitely our fault, but some of it is just the way the cookie crumbles.
10. Obviously when you play in multiple Final Fours, there are so many wins that you can cite as "big"... Kentucky, Arizona x 2, UNC, Xavier etc; but this one felt as good as any because we really felt like an underdog with something to prove. I think it also felt better because this has been a team that has been desperately seeking consistency all season. To find it at exactly the right time is both unbelievable and extremely satisfying. I couldn't have been happier with how this game played out. Earlier, I called this game "gravy", but now when I see who's left and how they compare to Villanova, I figure we may as well go out and get to another Final Four.