Neither Villanova nor Temple came close to playing to their seeds. I did not think Villanova had much jump against Robert Morris. Liked their effort much more against Saint Mary's, a team that runs great offense and has the amazing Omar Samhan (24-for-32, 61 points in two games).
You can coach a lot of things, but you can't coach the possibility that Scottie Reynolds, a truly special player for 4 years, is going to shoot 4-for-26 in his last two NCAA games, Nor can you coach against a well defended banked three as the decisive shot. One could, of course, make the argument that, as the favorite, you have only yourselves to blame if you are in position to get beat by a lucky shot.
Somewhere, the spark went out for this Villanova team. And they could not get it relit. Still, it is kind of amazing the Wildcats almost made the Sweet 16 again despite shooting 36 percent against a team that shot 50 percent. The program is a consistent national player now and this finish doesn't change that.
Temple did not look at all like the team that won 29 games and the Atlantic 10 Tournament. And I really don't think it had much to do with Temple.
I think it had everything to do with Cornell's personnel. A coach told me last Sunday night that Cornell was not only going to win, but that it wasn't going to be close.
He explained that Cornell's attack was the perfect antidote for the way Temple defended. I really did not understand what he meant until I saw the teams on the floor. Then, after about 5 minutes I got it.
Cornell has so much skill at every position that it can attack the basket if you shade the arc and fire from the arc if you try to protect the hoop. And if those long shots start to go in, you can't win. That is precisely what happened to Temple and, today, to Wisconsin.
I think this Temple team would have had few issues with 45 or so teams in this tournament. Unfortunately, Cornell was not one of those 45.