NCAA March Madness: Villanova Falls To Wisconsin, Elimination Expected Following Unconvincing Start?

By Nikko Villanueva, Posted: 03/19/17 07:26PM EDT

NCAA March Madness is full of surprises and one happened Saturday when Wisconsin scored an upset against Villanova, 65-62. The Wildcats were the defending national champions and No. 1 overall, but their exit may have been expected especially after a lackluster start in the tournament. 

The Badgers' recent victory solidified their claim on the nickname "giant killers." Leading the way for them was senior Nigel Hayes who had 19 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Hayes scored a layup in the final seconds of the game that helped them seal the win. 

Hayes was assisted by his fellow seniors Bronson Koenig (17 points), Ethan Happ (12 points), and Vitto Brown (10 points). Following the game, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard made a huge statement regarding the team seedings in the NCAA Tournament. 

"Seeds don't matter. I told these guys I don't care where we're seeded. We have to win six games. Let's start with these two this weekend," Gard said according to the Associated Press. The Badgers move on to the Sweet 16 and will take on Florida, who dominated Virginia in their second-round game. 

If Wisconsin was celebrating, Villanova felt the pain of defeat. Senior guard Josh Hart was the top scorer for the Wildcats as he tallied 19 points. There were only two other players who scored in double-digits for the former champs -- freshman Donte DiVincenzo (15 points) and sophomore Jalen Brunson (11 points). 

It was heartbreaking for Villanova, but the elimination might have been inevitable. The Associated Press stated that the Wildcats had an "unimpressive performance" versus Mount St. Mary's and this made them "look vulnerable." ESPN had the same thought, while adding that it was only DiVincenzo who kept them afloat early in their game versus Wisconsin.

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