The NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night was anticlimactic.
And a bit boring from what we witnessed over the weekend.
As crazy as the NCAA men's tournament got at times, Villanova was clearly the best team and asserted itself throughout the tournament, winning every game by double digits. The Wildcats certainly staked the claim that they are the best men's team to emerge in decades.
But the men were dramatically upstaged by the women.
All four No. 1 women's seeds made the Final Four. — Notre Dame, Mississippi State, UConn and Louisville.
Both semifinal games went into overtime, one decided at the buzzer or in the last seconds with undefeated UConn getting ousted on on a a last-second shot for the second straight year.
Then, the national championship game between Notre Dame and Mississippi State was decided on another buzzer-beater by the same Notre Dame player (Arike Ogunbowale) for the second straight game.
For gripping drama, it was unsurpassed. It was as good as college basketball can get
And all three were great games, up and down, back and forth, great plays by great players. It was a testament to the rising quality of the women's game.
The men's championship game was more of an affirmation — of how good Villanova was.
Although the Wildcats took away the drama early in the second half Monday, they were a fun team to watch, a team to imitate for how the modern game should be played.
Villanova had an arsenal of shooters — down to the sixth man and beyond. The Wildcats could score from anywhere at a fast pace.
What was marvelous to watch was how the players played together, their fundamental passing, their sense of playmaking, their finding the open man, their creativity, their spacing.
And underrated was how they played defense.
Villanova had strong senior leadership with a strong group of skilled underclassmen.
They played nicely under the guidance of coach Jay Wright, who has established himself as one of the best in the business.
What is happening is the one-and-done era is still alive but on the way to being done. The teams with the great young players on the fast track to the NBA will win a lot of games and make an impact in the tournament. But the teams with veteran players who are not playing entirely for themselves and who form a beautiful blend with their younger teammates over time can win championships.
Villanova is now the new model.
When you reflect on it, the entire March Madness season, men and women, was quite a rush.
Last-second wins, some long, well-contestedbuzzer baskets. Drama and surprises at every step —a 16-seed beating a 1-seed in men and the UConn women not winning it for the second year in a row. You had upstarts such as Loyola, UMBC, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
Then, there was Loyola's Sister Jean, one of those delightful people who emerge out of nowhere to remind us why we like sports so much.
Many shining moments. We're already experiencing withdrawal in the sunset.
Sports editor David McCollum can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dmaclcd