2008-09 Villanova: The Wildcats were heavy on experience, returning all but one player from the previous season's Sweet 16 run. Forward Dante Cunningham led the squad in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.1 points and 7.5 boards per game while winning the Big East's Most Improved Player award. Junior guard Scottie Reynolds chipped in 15.2 points per game and a team-high 3.4 assists, while sophomore guard Corey Fisher, the Big East's Sixth Man Award winner, scored 10.8 points per game. Villanova was awarded the No. 3 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament and dispatched American, UCLA and Duke before meeting No. 1-seed Pittsburgh in the Regional Final. A Reynolds layup with two seconds remaining notched a 78-76 victory over the Panthers and advanced the Wildcats to the school's fourth Final Four and first since 1985. The following round, Villanova fell to eventual-champ North Carolina.
Villanova's reward for knocking off 2011-12 Louisville in our play-in game? A date with top-seeded UConn in the Round of 16.
The Huskies featured Khalid El-Amin often in the early going. After connecting with Hamilton for an assist, El-Amin scored the Huskies' next 11 points, including three triples. Despite the hot hand, the Wildcats kept pace until the last few minutes of the half, when a three-pointer by Albert Mouring and a tip-in by Jake Voskuhl ensured a seven-point halftime cushion for UConn.
Despite closing the gap during the second half, Villanova was never able to catch UConn. Two treys from Dwayne Anderson in the game's waning moments produced a respectable final score, but the Huskies prevailed 83-81.
A quick glance at the box score would suggest Hamilton and El-Amin, who combined for 48 points, were the catalysts behind UConn's win. But the inside dirty work from Kevin Freeman and Voskuhl was just as important. The pair pulled down 21 rebounds collectively and helped the Huskies to a 44-26 edge on the glass.
Anderson paced the Wildcats with 24 points. Reynolds added 12 points and six assists, while Cunningham scored 12 and collected eight boards.
Player of the game: Richard Hamilton (30 points)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: '99 UConn 62.0% - '09 Villanova 38.0%
Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: '99 UConn 79.6 - '09 Villanova 75.9
View Sample Boxscore | Simulate '99 UConn vs. '09 Villanova