The last few minutes of Monday’s national championship game between Villanova and North Carolina had more twists and turns than a tornado, and if you think it was exciting as a fan, well, try being a member of the media who’s trying to file a column.
“You’re in that situation and you see (Villanova) up 10 and you think, ‘Okay, maybe they’ll kind of coast toward the end,’” Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “And then Carolina wills it away and (Ryan Arcidiacono) throws the ball away that leads to a Carolina bucket and it’s a one-point game, and then there’s one three (by Marcus Paige) with five seconds to go that’s desperation, this incredible shot, and you’re thinking it’s going to go to overtime. The fireworks and the shot and just everything about it – it’s one of those moments that, years from now, you tell your family and your friends, ‘Yeah, I was there that night. I saw that. It was pretty amazing.’”
In the end, Kris Jenkins, who was plagued by foul trouble throughout the night, drilled a three at the buzzer to give Villanova its first national title since 1985. The win only bolstered Jay Wright’s status as one of the top coaches in America, but his hot seat – at least from the outside – was getting a little warm, this after going six years without even a Sweet 16 appearance.
But if you think Villanova’s annual postseason disappointment was weighing on the 54-year-old Wright, you had better think again.
“I’m not sure it weighed very much in the sense that the administration and the athletic department has always backed him 100 percent, and so whatever pressure he might have gotten from outsiders, alumni, media, things like that, he’s pretty good at shutting that out,” Sielski said. “Now having said that, I think he’s got an interesting decision ahead of him now. We know how this game works. He got an interview with the Sixers in 2009 after the last time they went to the Final Four, so I got to think once the NBA season ends and there’s coaching vacancies, he’s going to get a call or two. He’s very loyal to Nova. He knows he’s got a great thing going there. I don’t think there’s another NCAA program in the country that he would leave Nova to go to. He wouldn’t go to Kentucky if (John) Calipari were to leave or Louisville if (Rick) Pitino were to leave, but the NBA might be intriguing. His kids are old enough and he’s young enough that he could make the move if he wanted to. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got an offer. It would surprise me if he elected to take it, but that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t. So he’s got an interesting spring and summer ahead.”
Sielski was asked if Nova’s title counts as a Philadelphia championship.
“Oh, it absolutely does,” he said. “We are so desperate for something to celebrate. The four pro teams have been in a bad way for a little while now. We haven’t had anything since the Phillies in 2008 and, before that, the Sixers in 1983. So we’ll take Villanova, thank you very much.”