Villanova Beats Oklahoma 95-51 In Record Final Four Win

Villanova's Josh Hart had 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting vs. Oklahoma. (USATSI)
Villanova’s Josh Hart had 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting vs. Oklahoma. (USATSI)

Villanova is heading to the national championship game for the first time in 31 years — and has looked as dominant as any team in program history in getting there.

In fact, the Wildcats just put up one of the most impressive, forceful, unrelenting victories in the history of the Final Four. Statistically, it was the best ever. The Wildcats’ 95-51 win over Oklahoma is the largest margin of victory ever in a Final Four. National title game, national semifinals, all of it. No team has ever beaten an opponent by as many points on the sport’s ultimate stage as Villanova.

An incredible showing for the pride for the Big East’s best program.

The win is, flatly, shocking. Nobody could’ve remotely dreamed this to be possible. The expectation entering Saturday night’s national semifinal between a pair of 2 seeds was a tight game between the two squads who’ve continued to play at a high level throughout the tournament. Instead, the Wildcats played their best game of the season, while Oklahoma got far too little out of its National Player of the Year, Buddy Hield (nine points), let alone the rest of its team.

Villanova was an outrageous 82.7 percent from the field in effective field goal percentage. It shot 71.4 percent from the floor. Jay Wright’s team had 38 points in the paint and 12 steals. They made Oklahoma look like an unworthy opponent, which is saying something, given OU — like VU — was ranked as the No. 1 team in the country earlier this season.

And the game wasn’t a blowout from tip to final horn. After an interesting start that featured 11 lead changes, Villanova pulled away midway through the first half — and that gap only got worse for Oklahoma from there. We’ve rarely seen a team look so good, so stylish and aggressive and unbeatable, on this big a stage.

It’s still shocking to take in.

For Hield, his only highlight from the last game of his college career is passing former Baylor player LaceDarius Dunn to become the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer with 2,291 points. Hield went the final 13:25 without taking a shot. After hitting the opening basket of the game, a 3-pointer, he and his teammates were held to 28 halftime points. Oklahoma went on a six-minute drought down the stretch of the first half that buried the Sooners’ hopes for the final 20 minutes.

And what a turnaround from Nova’s 78-55 loss against Oklahoma in Hawaii on Dec. 7. The Wildcats shot 4 for 32 from 3-point range that day. On Saturday, Nova was 11 of 18 from beyond the arc and finished with an offensive efficiency rating of 156.8. Insane!

Maybe the most incredible stat: Oklahoma’s seven previous losses came by a total of 40 points. Villanova outdid that in one game. Easily. Oklahoma is the second single-digit seed in modern NCAA Tournament history to lose a game by at least 44 points.

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Matt Norlander