Villanova’s last national title was 31 years ago in 1985 and Rollie Massimino was the guy who was pulling the strings on the sidelines.
The boisterous head coach has been described by his pupils as being one of the great “defensive minds” of all-time and don’t be surprised if Jay Wright goes into his mentor’s notes for Monday’s game against North Carolina.
The Wildcats’ have sparingly used some matchup zone during the NCAA Tournament and that could be used again Monday in an effort to test the Tar Heels’ lack of outside shooting.
North Carolina only made four 3-point shots on Saturday against Syracuse and still won going away.
The Tar Heels don’t need to make shots from deep to beat Villanova, but the zone could help Villanova dramatically on the glass.
North Carolina will step up a weight class on Monday against Villanova
Much has been made about the Wildcats having to deal with the Tar Heels, but the opposite is also true.
North Carolina has beaten a five-seed (Indiana), six-seed (Notre Dame), and 10-seed (Syracuse) in its last three NCAA Tournament games and Villanova is clearly the best team that Roy Williams’ team will play since it faced Virginia in the ACC Tournament finals.
The Tar Heels cruised past Michigan State in the title game when they last won a national title in 2009.
Most of the college basketball world would be shocked is something similar happens on Monday.
This one has the makings of a classic.
Kris Jenkins could be Villanova’s X-Factor against North Carolina
The 6-foot-6 forward has had a major hand in the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament run and he’ll no doubt be a huge key on Monday night in the title game.
Jenkins has made 15-of-31 3-point shots in Villanova’s last five games and his ability to extend the defense will be a critical aspect against the Tar Heels.
In order for the Wildcats to emerge victorious against North Carolina, they’re going to need to go over the top of the Tar Heels’ defense.
That’s where Jenkins comes in.
His penchant for stretching the opponent’s four man will be a critical component of Villanova’s half-court offense.
Theo Pinson’s defensive versatility may come in handy on Monday
Roy Williams always likes to play with two traditional big men on the floor at the same time and that may not be always be in North Carolina’s best interest against Villanova because of how the Wildcats use a smaller player at power forward.
That’s where Pinson comes in.
The 6-6 wing has been limited offensively, but remains an elite athlete and someone who can guard multiple spots on the floor defensively.
It will be interesting to see if Williams opts to use Pinson for extended minutes on Monday against Villanova.
Villanova needs good minutes from Darryl Reynolds against North Carolina
The 6-8 big man had a combined 23 rebounds in back-to-back games this season when Daniel Ochefu was out of the lineup and he’ll need to again assert himself on the backboards against the Tar Heels.
Reynolds isn’t the first reserve that people are going to think about on the Wildcats’ roster, but he’ll be a key figure in the national title game on Monday night.
Villanova has to limit North Carolina’s ability to get second chance points if it wants to have a chance to do something it hasn’t done in 31 years: win the national title.
The Tar Heels had 16 offensive rebounds in Saturday night’s win over Syracuse.