NEW YORK—Jay Wright seemed laser focused.
He took his Coach of the Year trophy and immediately congratulated Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado on Rookie of the Year. Then he told Breitbart Sports, “It is such an honor for Ryan Arcidiacono to win player of the Year with all the great players in the league like … Matt Carlino.”
Delgado was standing a few feet away, but Carlino from 12-18 Marquette?
A cynic might suspect that the fact that Carlino and Delgado were about to take the court—for the right to play Villanova Thursday at noon—might have factored into Wright’s praise. After Wright led Villanova to a 29-2 season they will certainly be a double—digit favorite over Seton Hall or Marquette. But the class act and best dresser in the game was not going to give any locker room material to any future opponent.
A couple of hours later Carlino was draining first half threes to stake Marquette to a 32-14 lead over Seton Hall, while the great freshman Delgado short-armed a couple of early shots. But no matter who emerged, Wright was giving them no extra incentive.
The praise continued when Breitbart Sports asked Wright how you go through a season with only two losses when every team tends to have a really bad game about once every six outings. Villanova had the five or six bad games this year that they had to fight through, he told Breitbart Sports. “Against Creighton we struggled, but that was really them playing very well. Against Butler we easily could have lost, but we gutted it out, but that was really just because they were so good,” said Wright, using any excuse to praise everyone else rather than talk about his team being off.
What are the chances of another Final Four run like in 2009?
“So much of the tournament really is about match-ups,” Wright said. “Last year we drew UConn in the second round and no one knew they were that good. Then they go on and win the national title. We are going to have a game in the tournament where we really are going to have to gut it off because the other team is playing so well.”
“I am just thrilled the Big East is doing so well,” he confessed. “I have so much respect for the other coaches in this league. The fact that they would pick me as Coach of the Year is such an honor.”
The best dressed coach may also be the smoothest. This will be the fourth season in nine years he had guided Villanova to either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, and one other year the Wildcats earned a No. 3 seed and then beat UCLA and Duke by 20 each and edged Pitt to make the Final Four.
The team that dominated the second best conference in the land could be heard from again.