Villanova could be in for bigger challenge against Alabama


Mikal Bridges scored 22 of his 23 points in the second half to lift Villanova past Alabama 81-58 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

That said, 'Bama was burned for 83 points and 1.20 points per possession in a narrow first-round win against Virginia Tech on Thursday, and things are only about to get more hard when they take on Villanova.

Alabama's last bout with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament came in 2004 where the Tide downed Stanford, 70-67, on March 20 to advance to the Elite Eight. The Wildcats shot 17-for-41 from deep against the Tide.

The victor of Saturday's game advances to the NCAA East Regional semifinal next Friday in Boston.

There is also Alabama vs. Villanova live streaming online feeds for cable or satellite subscribers via the website by logging in with account credentials.

"Virginia Tech shot the ball extremely well in the first half from the 3-point line", Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said.

DiVincenzo did cool off in the second half as if someone had put his hand in a bucket of ice water. Despite having a slow first half shooting 0-for-5, Bridges turned it on in the second half. "And since we set a standard, we're going to be back and just prove to the world that we're a great team". The victory gave Duke its 26th trip to the Sweet 16, where they'll play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday. DiVincenzo had 18 points for the game, all came in the first half after guard Jalen Brunson sat with foul trouble.

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The change was painful, he said, for nations that "are in the habit of ruling the roost". The conversations earlier this week seem to have had an effect - particularly in the U.S.

"I think Mikal explained it best, because we have the freedom to shoot because we're not really anxious whether shots go in or not", Wright said of his team's second half defense.

"Some nights, we're going to have them", Wright said. Both Bridges and DiVincenzo each contributed five 3-pointers.

After failing to make a field goal in the first half, Bridges hit four 3-pointers, and scored 19 of Villanova's first 21 points in the second half, as the Wildcats hit their first six shots from outside. His 5-9 3-point shooting kept the Villanova operating from in front most of the half. Among them: Freshman guard Collin Sexton dismantled then-player of the year favorite Trae Young in Tuscaloosa and Alabama smoked SEC co-champ Tennessee by 28 points in February.

Now, the competition picks up a notch as teams try to fight for a berth in the Sweet 16 next week. Alabama has not been in the tournament since it was a 9 seed in 2012 and lost in opening game.

Justin Robinson led the Hokies with 19 points, while Justin Bibbs added 17 points. We've still got to get better but these guys know it.

Buckeye facts: OSU also fended off a pesky mid-major in the first round, but in the process, its difficulties defending the 3-pointer were exposed with South Dakota State knocking down 13.