No. 2 Villanova jumped out to an 8–0 lead and never looked back, blowing away No. 3 Miami 92–69 on Thursday to advance to the Elite Eight of the South regional. A Kris Jenkins three-pointer pushed the lead to 29–14 before Miami answered with four straight threes of its own that kickstarted a 16–2 run. That closed the gap to one, but the Wildcats responded to lead by six at halftime.
Villanova’s lead went back over double digits for good on a three-pointer by Ryan Arcidiacono with 14:12 left, making the score 56–44, and the Wildcats poured it on from there, at one point leading by as much as 25 in the final minutes. Arcidiacono and Jenkins each had 21 points to lead the Wildcats. Sheldon McClellan had 26 for Miami.
Why it matters
Miami shot 53.2% from the floor, including 58.8% from three, and was never really in the game, a testament to Villanova’s overpowering offensive performance that is starting to be reminiscent of the 1985 title game, when the Wildcats upset heavily favored Georgetown by making 79% from the field. For the third straight game, the Wildcats put forth a blistering shooting performance, shooting 62.7% and 66.7% (10 of 15) from 3, as well as 94.7% from the free-throw line.
Villanova entered the Sweet 16 leading all tournament teams in field-goal percentage and ranking second in three-point percentage, and it did nothing to hurt those figures. Through three games, the Wildcats are now shooting 59.9% from the field overall, 53.2% from behind the arc and 80.9% at the free-throw line. If the Wildcats shoot like that, they stand an excellent chance of not only reaching the Final Four but winning the program’s second national championship.
Villanova will face the winner of Thursday’s late game between No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 5 seed Maryland on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.