The forecast was that the Villanova-Oklahoma national semifinal was a 50-50 toss-up.
It proved to be anything but that.
Villanova’s win was the greatest romp in NCAA Final Four history, surpassing the 34-point wins by Cincinnati Bearcats over Oregon State in 1963 and Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team over Penn in 1979. The 44-point margin of victory is the best for Villanova in its NCAA tournament history and the margin of defeat is the worst for Oklahoma in its NCAA tournament history
Though this was a nine-point game with 15:53 remaining, the statistical differences between the teams was stark in every respect.
Villanova shot 71.4 percent from the field. Oklahoma shot 31.7 percent. Villanova’s shooting percentage was the second-best ever in a Final Four game. The only team to shoot better? Villanova, which shot 78.6 percent in its upset of Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the 1985 title game.
The Wildcats now have four of the top eight shooting performances in the 2016 NCAA tournament. The Wildcats enter the final shooting 58.2 percent for the tournament, the best mark of any team entering a final since the field expanded in 1985.
Villanova started 12-of-20 from the field, then went 23-of-29 the rest of the way. Oklahoma started 10-of-20, but then went 9-of-40.
Villanova scored 53 second-half points. Oklahoma totaled 51 points for the game.
Oklahoma had 12 more offensive rebounds than Villanova, but the Wildcats outscored the Sooners in second-chance points, 13-11. Villanova was 5-of-5 on second-chance shots. Oklahoma was 4-of-16. Additionally, Villanova had a 31-11 edge in points off turnovers, the most such points that that Sooners have allowed in the past five seasons.
This was a markedly different game than the first meeting. In that game, Villanova never led. The Wildcats shot 6-of-43 on jump shots in that loss, but were 18-of-29 on jumpers in Saturday’s win.