UNC Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick urges her team on during a first round women's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Villanova lost to North Carolina State in the second round last year and to CT at that same point in the tournament the year before. "So you've got to have a concerted effort defensively for the entire 40 minutes".
The Jackrabbits played in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013, losing in the first round both times.
"Everyone's been talking about this next game coming up for the whole year, even before we got in the tournament, but it's very humbling for us to be able to get this first win", Daniel Ochefu said. "We have to focus on the things we can take care of that will help us get this "W" on Sunday".
In each of the past two seasons, Villanova has been bounced in the round of 32 by a lower-seeded team - on poor shooting nights. That includes a year ago as a No. 1 seed and in 2014 as a No. 2.
Taking the podium Sunday, Wildcats coach Jay Wright delicately noted the lack of enthusiasm in the Connolly Center and cautioned all that he didn't want his players to take any NCAA Tournament bid for granted. And now everyone’s going to ask the question. "We've got to guard her by committee". If we don't do it, it's failure.
Junior guard Josh Hart said he knows that despite a 30-5 record, many Villanova fans will judge the success of this season on whether or not the Wildcats can win today and at least get to the second weekend of the tournament.
The hallmarks of the Matthew Mitchell era of Kentucky women's basketball-aggressive defense and lights out three-point shooting-were on full display in the Wildcats' opening round 85-31 victory over UNC-Asheville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this evening at Memorial Coliseum.
No. 5 Maryland 79, No. 12 South Dakota State 74: Maryland needed a turnover in the closing seconds to ensure it would avoid a place with all the other top seeds that lost in the first round of this topsy-turvy NCAA Tournament, holding off South Dakota State behind a career-high 27 points from Jake Layman in Spokane, Wash.
They'll get past 15th-seeded UNC-Asheville in round one, but a second-round matchup with Iowa could prove nightmarish.
The Wildcats finished with four starters in double figures, led by Daniel Ochefu with 17 points, he hauled in 10 rebounds as well in 26 minutes of action.
"They tried to hike the energy up a little bit, and it was our job to do the same", Asheville's Sam Hughes said. Asheville was within four points before the Wildcats found the range from 3-point range once again.
"Everyone has the right to think what they want, say what they want", Arcidiacono said.
The Villanova Wildcats look for another win after beating UNC Asheville on Friday. The Bulldogs hit just 6 of 28 shots in the half (21 percent) and only managed to score five points the entirety of the 2nd quarter. "And I'm really proud of how our guys handled it, to win a Big East regular season championship, win 29 games, with everyone still saying this doesn't matter".
"Our posts were trying to do a nice job of playing behind and then trying to side front him, giving him different looks. We're ready to play".
Kris Jenkins scored 12 and Jalen Brunson had 10 points for the Villanova.