Commentary

The final possession

In the Big Dance, it's all about what you call late in the tightest of games

Updated: March 24, 2010, 11:16 AM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine
Getty ImagesBecause 'Nova was successful with 20 seconds left in last year's Elite Eight, Dante Cunningham was quite happy.

This story appears in the April 5, 2010 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

"We're just 20 seconds away from the Final Four," Jay Wright remembers thinking as he glanced at the scoreboard at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden. "We're just 20 seconds away."

The Villanova Wildcats coach was sitting on a 75-72 lead over Big East rival Pittsburgh in the East Regional final of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Two months earlier, the Wildcats had beaten the Panthers by 10, in the last college game ever played at the Spectrum. Wright, a Pennsylvania native, admits feeling pressure to close the building with a W, as if he were standing at the free throw line with junior Reggie Redding as the guard iced the win.

"But now that night seems like a walk in the park," Wright says with a laugh. "Everything seems like a walk in the park after you've been through a final 20 seconds like we had in Boston."

Ryan McGee | email

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