Reigning champs Villanova sneak past St. Mary’s

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The dream of back-to-back championships is not dead yet for Jay Wright and Villanova.

The Wildcats, seeded sixth in the South Region, found a way to get past No. 11 St. Mary’s, 61-57, in the first round on Thursday night.

Phil Booth led the way with 20 points and six assists while Eric Paschall and Jermaine Samuels combined for 26 points and 13 boards. With the win, Villanova will advance to take on the winner of Thursday’s final tip, No. 3-seed Purdue vs. No. 14-seed Old Dominion.

This Villanova team is not as talented as the Villanova teams that we have become accustomed to seeing in recent years. They are young in positions that you don’t want to be young, three of their most talented freshmen did not even suit up against Saint Mary’s and it has been painfully obvious to everyone watching that this team badly needed Donte Divincenzo back to help carry some of the scoring load.

That said, here we are in late March, and the Wildcats are winnings games against good, tough teams. They are in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and they are here after winning the Big East regular season title outright as well as the Big East tournament title.

That’s in a down year.

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