Colleges

JOE SULLIVAN | COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Why Villanova’s loss shouldn’t be that surprising

Villanova guard Jalen Brunson (1) follows through on a final shot as Wisconsin players celebrate the end of their second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

bill wippert/AP

Wisconsin players celebrate their second-round victory over No. 1 East seed VIllanova.

Some thoughts after four high holy days of college basketball:

  Villanova lost, which obviously means the Wildcats won’t repeat, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s difficult to repeat; that’s why it almost never happens.

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There has been talk that they got a tough second-round opponent because Wisconsin should have been seeded higher. Not sure about that. Wisconsin lost five of its last seven in the regular season. The Badgers did beat Northwestern badly in the Big Ten tournament, but they also lost to Northwestern in the regular season.

In the end, it was probably Michigan’s victory in the Big Ten tournament that pushed the Wolverines up to a 7 seed and Wisconsin down to an 8.

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  With South Carolina upsetting Duke, the East has lost its two top seeds. Baylor, Florida, South Carolina, and Wisconsin remain, and it would be difficult to find a bracket that has one of those four in the Final Four.

I obviously didn’t see all the games, but that had to be the best South Carolina played all season. CBS has been claiming this is South Carolina’s first time in the Sweet 16, but that’s true only since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. The Gamecocks have been among the final 16 when the tournament had fewer teams.

  What impressed me most about Kentucky was its defense; the Wildcats rarely gave Wichita any easy shots. Earlier this season, John Calipari said this could be his best defensive team. It sure looked like it Sunday, especially with the two blocked shots on Wichita’s final two possessions with the game in the balance.

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  For Wichita, the biggest question is whether coach Gregg Marshall will be back. He is highly coveted. The entire team returns, so the Shockers could be even better next season unless a departure by Marshall also leads to players leaving.

  Arkansas forced North Carolina to play the chaotic style coach Mike Anderson likes, and it almost worked. Carolina was lucky to escape and can’t repeat that sloppy performance.

  I can’t explain Florida’s 65-39 victory over Virginia. It makes no sense for that game to be lopsided. The Gators looked great in their two wins, and I’ll take them over Wisconsin this week.

  I’m going to be consistent: I’m still not sure about Gonzaga after watching the Zags nearly blow a big lead against Northwestern.

  Xavier seems to have finally adjusted to being without injured point guard Edmond Sumner. The Muskies were the quicker, more aggressive team against Florida State.

  Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan has had a great tournament, with consecutive double-doubles, but it might finally be clear to me why he’s not projected to a lottery pick. Iowa State’s Deonte Burton easily glided past the XXX-sized Swanigan late in the game. Swanigan has great low-post skills and he rebounds, but foot speed might be an issue.

  Butler coach Chris Holtmann had his team well-prepared to beat Middle Tennessee. The Bulldogs took Sully’s Court favorite Giddy Potts out of the game, and on offense they destroyed Middle’s 1-3-1 half-court trap. The Blue Raiders had to abandon it.

  Not that there was any doubt, but Kansas looked ready to win a national championship by the way it met the challenge of Michigan State and won going away.

  Second year in a row Oregon eliminated the Atlantic 10 tournament champ (Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s) by rallying from a late deficit. Kind of weird how similar it was.

  Still can’t believe Semi Ojeleye didn’t take the last shot for SMU in its loss to USC.

Joe Sullivan can be reached at joseph.sullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan
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