For awhile on Thursday night, the Billion Dollar Bracket hopefuls were holding their collective breaths.
In the end, however, there would be no headline-grabbing upset in Buffalo.
The second round game in the East Region at the First Niagara Center in upstate New York went according to plan.
Hanging in there for about thirty minutes, Rob Jeter’s Milwaukee Panthers made it interesting.
The Panthers got to the big dance with an improbable win in the Horizon League Tourney.
At one point in the first half, Milwaukee (15) took the lead on the second seeded Villanova and flirted with history.
But when the clock struck midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) the glass sneaker didn’t quite fit.
This particular Cinderella story was over for the Panthers, losing 73-53 to the Wildcats.
Villanova struggled mightily from beyond the arc nailing just 4 of 23 on the night.
They missed all twelve bombs in the first half.
Jay Wright’s charges ended up scoring 46 points in the paint to more than make up the shortfall from outside, however.
Nova takes on the Uconn Huskies on Saturday.
It may be over for the Panthers, but their first appearance in the NCAAs since 2006 forced a new generation of prospects to go find Milwaukee on the map.
It will make Jeter’s recruiting job a lot easier as a result.
It was exciting while it lasted, but there is a reason for the seeding process.
It’s why the Number Twos rarely succumb to the 15s of this world.
Austin Arians led the way for Milwaukee with 17 points and the formerly hirsute Matt Tiby chipped in with 10.
Jordan Aaron was held in check, managing only one basket in fifteen attempts and only six points.
The Wildcats had five players in double figures led by Darrun Hilliard II with 16.