The Villanova Wildcats came into the 2015 NCAA tournament with raging intentions on silencing critics and proving they deserved their No. 1 seed with a long run toward the Final Four and ultimately the national championship. However, the NC State Wolfpack had other things in mind today.
North Carolina State upsets No. 1 Villanova http://t.co/Gl1VIiaE6M
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 22, 2015
Jay Wright‘s squad went 34-3 this season, but somehow floundered in the Round of 32 to an ACC team that wasn’t really expected to do very much. This undoubtedly further gives clout to the prevailing argument that this modern day Big East conference just isn’t anything to write home about.
The Wildcats simply had no answer for Abdul-Malik Abu, who dominated in the paint with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Trevor Lacey led NC State in scoring with 17 points and did a nice job getting others involved with four assists. Lennard Freeman also double-doubled for the Wolfpack, scoring 11 points with 12 rebounds. Plain and simple, NC State out-muscled Villanova, which wasn’t supposed to happen.
Ultimately, the Wildcats lost for one main reason, however. Darrun Hilliard II put on a scoring spectacle with 27 points, but only one other Wildcat, JaVaughn Pinkston, was able to register in double-digits. Hilliard is an amazingly talented player, but he’s still only one man. And in the NCAA Tournament, it takes more than just a star to keep on dancing.
The Wolfpack now await the winner of No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Northern Iowa. At this point, it’s fair to assume NC State isn’t afraid of anyone after taking down a mighty No. 1, and they’ll do anything and everything to keep the magic going.