Hordes of Final Four attendees made their way through downtown San Antonio as Villanova University fans celebrated their basketball team’s Monday night triumph over the University of Michigan – a 79-62 blowout led by redshirt sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo, who scored 31 points.
Katie McGuire, a 2017 Villanova graduate, said she was “ecstatic” to see her team win its second national championship title in three years.
“I was at Villanova two years ago and to be here two years later and see my team win another championship – it’s an unreal feeling,” she said. “It’s euphoric.”
Bob McCann, a Villanova fan who is retired and resides in New Jersey, said after the game that San Antonio was a great host for the this year’s men’s Final Four.
“What I really like is what we’re doing right now,” McCann said as he walked along the path from the Alamodome. “We got here in a car from the airport. I haven’t been in a car since.”
McCann said he was headed back to the lobby at The Crockett Hotel, where he was staying, to celebrate with a few beers and watch the highlights from the game.
Well after midnight, the Wildcats themselves arrived via river barge at the Arneson River Theatre to celebrate with their fans.
For University of Michigan fans, the defeat was a crushing blow. It was the sixth time the school was on the losing end of an NCAA men’s basketball championship game. In the course of the program’s history, the Wolverines have reached the title game seven times, but only claimed victory once.
In the 1993 title game, forward Chris Webber infamously cost the team a chance at closing a two-point margin when he called a timeout the Wolverines did not have. The phantom timeout call resulted in a technical foul, and the North Carolina Tar Heels were awarded a free throw that helped put the game out of reach.
Katie Velting, 28, an Illinois resident, said Monday night’s game felt close in the first half.
“They were playing pretty well and then the momentum shifted,” Velting said. “It just kinda went down from there, so it was sad to watch.”
Michigan alumnus Ricardo Cannon, 34, of Laredo, said it was great to see his alma mater compete for a national title.
“I think basketball is a make-or-miss sport, and they ran into the best team in America,” he said. “You just gotta tip your cap when a team performs like that.”
At the Hyatt Regency hotel on the River Walk, where the Villanova Wildcats stayed during the Final Four, fans described the win as exciting but expected. A chorus of “Villanova” chants broke out as “Nova Nationers” reveled in the win.
For San Antonio, the three final games of the tournament – and associated fanfare – provided an economic boon: A study projected that the Final Four would inject more than $185 million into the economy. It was the fourth men’s Final Four hosted in San Antonio and the first since 2008.
Jeff Sullivan contributed to this report.