Villanova clocks Creighton to win 2017 Big East championship

As much as things change in the Big East, they stay the same: For the second time in three years, Villanova is the 2017 Big East Tournament champions. The top-seeded Wildcats took down No. 6 Creighton 74-60 in Saturday’s final at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats dispatched Creighton with relative ease. Just a night after struggling to put away Seton Hall in the semifinals, Villanova jumped to an early lead and never looked back. The Wildcats led 36-22 at the break and expanded the margin to as many as 19 before the Bluejays made a minor run.

The Wildcats were led by Big East Player of the Year Josh Hart. The senior from Maryland scored 29 points and grabbed 6 rebounds on his way to being named tournament MVP. Sophomore guard Jalen Brunson added 17 points and 5 assists.

 

After the game, coach Jay Wright praised his entire senior class for the role it played.

“Three greatest seniors in college basketball,” Wright said from the podium while accepting the trophy. “Darryl Reynolds, Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart. That’s the leadership.”

With another conference title for the trophy case, Villanova’s attention now turns to the NCAA Tournament, where it looks to become the first team since Florida in the 2006-2007 season to win back-to-back national championships.

And coincidentally, the road to another title could lead the Wildcats back to Madison Square Garden. It is presumed that the Wildcats will end up as the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and should they advance to the Sweet 16, that round would be played at MSG.

Still, any talk of a national championship is far from this team’s mind.

“We’ve got to keep getting better,” Hart said. “We’re not as good as we can be yet.”

That’s a scary thought for the rest of college basketball, as the NCAA Tournament brackets will be revealed in less than 24 hours.