Jim Valvano became an iconic symbol of college basketball and the NCAA tournament when he lost his mind running around the court at The Pit in Albuquerque in 1983 in the seconds after his North Carolina State team won the national title on a buzzer-beater over heavily favored Houston.
Villanova coach Jay Wright experienced the thrill of winning a national title Monday in the same fashion when guard Ryan Arcidiacono passed to forward Kris Jenkins, who then buried the game-winner to beat North Carolina 77-74 at the horn in Houston. But Wright might go down in history for his utter lack of emotion aside from a slight smile as he simply turned to walk down the sideline and shake hands with UNC coach Roy Williams before he was caught up in a hug with his assistant coaches.
At the moment Jenkins was taking the shot, Wright appeared to say, "Bang."
Wright admitted in a postgame interview with TBS during the trophy presentation that what appeared to be smooth and self-confident was actually him in a state of disbelief at what unfolded.
"I can't wait to see that look because I was just shocked," Wright said.
Of course it won't be just the reaction to the game-winner that Wright will be remembered for when it comes to this special season for the Wildcats. He managed to calm his players in a timeout with 4.7 seconds remaining only seconds after North Carolina guard Marcus Paige hit a cold-blooded 3-point shot to tie the game.
Wright credited his players for handling the pressure of the moment and executing.
"We have an end-of-a-game-situation play like that," Wright said. "We put it in Arch's hands. It's Arch's job to make the decision. Kris told him he was going to be open. Arch made the perfect pass and Kris Jenkins lives for that moment."
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