‘Nova vs. Michigan again at site of ’18 title

SAN ANTONIO — Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels and Villanova are back again in the city of the Alamo for the 1st time because winning the nationwide championship there four years back. Even the opponent is the exact, though in a various arena for this considerably surprising Sweet 16 matchup from Michigan.

Gillespie and Samuels, real freshmen during that 2018 NCAA Tournament title run, are now graduate college students and four-calendar year starters who obtained an additional time of eligibility because of the pandemic.

“We were being just position guys on a group with six guys who experienced been in massive games just before. So we acquired a large amount from all those men and the preparing that it requires to get to that position,” Gillespie claimed Wednesday. “Now that we’re again in San Antonio, it isn’t going to seriously … like the two you should not genuinely correlate.”

Gillespie, a third-crew All-American and the Wildcats’ top scorer at 16 points for every sport, has began 121 game titles given that obtaining four factors and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes through that 2018 title sport. Samuels only bought on the ground for the closing 10 seconds of the 79-62 get, but has considering that began 110 video games.

“Various situation. Just very same put, very same workforce, totally various workforce,” Samuels reported. “But it is rather great to see how items lined up.”

Second-seeded Villanova (28-7) and No. 11 seed Michigan (19-14) meet up with in a South Region semifinal Thursday night at AT&T Middle, the residence of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs about 3 miles from the Alamodome that hosted the 2018 title video game. The Wildcats were being also the 2016 champs, in Houston, about 200 miles away.

Prime seed Arizona (33-3) performs No. 5 seed Houston (31-5) in the other South semi. The Wildcats experienced to survive overtime from TCU in the second spherical. The Cougars, a Final 4 staff final time, are much nearer to household just after starting up this NCAA tourney in Pittsburgh.

Michigan, a person of four double-digit seeds nevertheless enjoying, is in its fifth consecutive Sweet 16. Only No. 1 total seed Gonzaga at seven in a row has a more time active streak.

The Wolverines alternated wins and losses in excess of their last 10 video games ahead of the 68-crew NCAA Tournament industry was set, and played their very last five common-time online games without the need of suspended mentor Juwan Howard. They then experienced to triumph over halftime deficits in opposition to Colorado State and Tennessee in the NCAA’s initial two rounds, having their to start with back again-to-back again wins in almost 6 weeks.

“So with five straight Sweet 16 appearances, it’s not uncomplicated. It will take a whole lot of energy. It usually takes a whole lot of staying uncomfortable,” claimed Howard, the Fab 5 player in his 3rd season as Michigan’s coach.

Eli Brooks, who chose the Wolverines above Villanova in recruiting, is finding prepared for his 14th NCAA tourney recreation. The guard is the only latest Michigan player who appeared in the 2018 title sport, enjoying the ultimate a few minutes.

After huge guy Hunter Dickinson pointed out Brooks’ time at Michigan was a prevalent denominator in the school’s 5 consecutive Sweet 16s, Brooks promptly interjected, “I’ve only bought 4 of them. I are unable to just take credit score for all five.”

Michigan shed 3 of its top rated four scorers from that 2018 crew. Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges ended up among the four Villanova gamers drafted by the NBA quickly after that title sport, and all those were being the men who served established the tone for Gillespie and Samuels.

“They watched the leadership of Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and they definitely realized from that and they have come to be the identical sort of leaders,” Villanova mentor Jay Wright mentioned. “When you had Jalen and Mikal and men like that, you never ever think you might be likely to get leaders like that once again. Then you check out Collin and Jermaine and you recognize, if you have fellas like that, you can find a likelihood they can pass it on.”


Houston went into this time possessing to replace four starters from the Cougars’ to start with Closing 4 group due to the fact advancing that significantly 3 decades in a row all through the Phi Slama Jama era from 1982-84.

Then Marcus Sasser, the lone returning starter and the Cougars’ major scorer, broke a bone in his still left foot prior to Christmas and hasn’t performed given that. Sophomore guard Tramon Mark, who played 20 minutes in the nationwide semifinal final yr, had already been sidelined for the year by a shoulder personal injury following seven online games.

“I assume all coaches go through that. I really don’t feel that would make us special of special,” coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I guess the blessing was it took place early in conference season.”

That allowed the Cougars to alter from almost exclusively depending on their guards to becoming more inside-out with senior posts Fabian White Jr. and Josh Carlton, both first-team American Athletic Meeting picks. They nonetheless have guards Kyler Edwards, sophomore Jamal Shead and senior Taze Moore.

Edwards, a Texas Tech transfer who performed in the 2019 national championship activity, has 40 points in this NCAA tourney with 10 made 3-ideas.


Villanova’s Jay Wright and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson each had a bottle of wine and other presents waiting for them in San Antonio from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Wright was on Popovich’s employees with the gold medal-winning team at the Olympics previous summertime, and had worked with United states of america Basketball just before that. Sampson was a expert for the Spurs for quite a few months in 2008, paying out time instantly with Popovich following acquiring fired by Indiana.

With the NCAA regional online games at their residence arena, the Spurs are on a 4-game road trip.

Sampson went to the Spurs exercise facility, wherever Popovich had still left him a bottle of gain, a awesome take note and a bunch of Spurs gear.

“I felt like a camper. Except you would not give wine to a camper, would you?,” Sampson explained.

Wright also bought a bunch of suggestions from Popovich about what to do when in town.

“Pop gave me accommodations, restaurants, every little thing,” Wright mentioned. “I advised him, ‘Pop, this is university basketball, guy. I am with these men morning, midday, and evening. I will not depart these men. We don’t go out to supper.'”


FILE -Villanova ‘s Jermaine Samuels (23) performs for the duration of the second half of a school basketball recreation against Delaware in the initially round of the NCAA tournament in Pittsburgh, Friday, March 18, 2022. Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels and Villanova are back in the Alamo town for the very first time considering the fact that profitable the countrywide title there four several years back. Even the opponent is the exact same, though in a unique arena for this somewhat sudden Sweet 16 matchup in opposition to Michigan. (AP Photograph/Gene J. Puskar, File)


FILE -Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson (1), and Eli Brooks (55) celebrate right after they defeated Tennessee in a school basketball recreation in the 2nd spherical of the NCAA event, Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Indianapolis. Michigan, 1 of 4 double-digit seeds still enjoying, is in its fifth consecutive Sweet 16. Only No. 1 over-all seed Gonzaga at seven in a row has a for a longer time active streak. Michigan meets Villanova on Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photograph/Darron Cummings, File)


Villanova head coach Jay Wright reacts to a cal through the 2nd 50 % of a university basketball sport towards Delaware in the initial round of the NCAA match, Friday, March 18, 2022, in Pittsburgh. Villanova won 80-60 to advance to the next round. (AP Image/Keith Srakocic)


Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson offers guidelines through the initial half of a higher education basketball sport in opposition to Illinois in the second round of the NCAA event in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 20, 2022. (AP Picture/Gene J. Puskar)