The Villanova Wildcats were annihilated by the Oklahoma Sooners 78-55 back in December.
Now, the teams (both No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament) are slated to do battle in the Final Four Saturday. Funny how things work out.
"We try to be the best we can by the end of the year," Nova's Ryan Arcidiacono said this past weekend, looking back to when the then No. 9 Wildcats faltered in Honolulu (at the hands of the No. 7 Sooners). "We still have a game left. If we can do that, it's going to be great. Hopefully, we can play in the national championship game. We have to focus on Oklahoma. They beat us pretty good. I think we're just trying to get better every single day."
Villanova climbed as high as the nation's No. 1 for three weeks, and has proven to be one of the most potent teams in the entire tournament both offensively and defensively. The Oklahoma loss was a long time ago, and things are different now.
"I think the first time we played them we had a lot of young guys coming in that didn't know what we were completely about yet," another senior, Daniel Ochefu, said. "I think throughout the course of the year, we've grown a lot."
The Wildcats will need to thwart a player who is proving to be the nations best in Buddy Hield. The senior guard has seen his NBA draft-stock soar as he's scored 27, 36, 17 and 37 points respectively in the Sooners' four NCAA Tournament wins.
"Buddy Hield is an amazing player," Ochefu said. "Oklahoma is an extremely well-coached team with great players. It's going to be a battle. We take it upon ourselves to make the game extremely ugly."
The Wildcats and Sooners face off Saturday at 6:09 p.m. in Houston.