Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

‘Big Ragu’ helps Villanova cruise past Michigan for national championship

The redhead kid with the nickname Big Ragu came off the bench to score 31 points Monday and 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. He capped it with a 3-pointer from a step behind the arc that he celebrated with a knowing wink over to TV announcers Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery on the sideline.

More: Favorites to win title next season

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.

"I thought we played our best game in the championship game," coach Jay Wright said.

One key question: Could this be one of the best teams of all-time? 

Maybe so, considering the way 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 — 5 for 7 from 3 —that was better than that, making him an easy winner for most outstanding player in the Final Four.

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.

"Blocked shots, definitely," DiVincenzo said when asked if he enjoys 3s or rejections more. "I pride myself on defense and just bringing energy to the team."

The 3 that sealed it came from a big step behind the arc and gave Villanova a 62-44 lead with a bit less than 8 minutes left.

About the only drama left was whether DiVincenzo could unwrap himself from his teammates' mob hug to toss the ball underhanded toward the scoreboard after the buzzer. He succeeded there, too.

What a couple months it's been for Philly. First the Eagles. Now this. The Super Bowl, though, was a classic. This one was only beautiful to one team.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X