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Beating expectations

IT seemed like the sporting world's ultimate April Fools' joke. Villanova, the team given almost no chance, upset Georgetown, handed the collegiate national championship by folks who forgot that the game still had to be played. There was plenty of pressure, and both teams dealt admirably with it. Some was avoidable: The game ought to have been viewed as a contest between two very good basketball teams. Instead it was ballyhooed as an unequal, David-and-Goliath contest between Villanova, frequently defeated, and Georgetown, beaten only twice. The hype, often unseemly, ignored the fact that the teams had played two close games earlier this year.

Over the weight of a seven-game series -- the length of the championship rounds in professional basketball, baseball, and hockey -- the result might have been different. But on this one night, in this single game, the Villanova team that believed it could win played the practically perfect game required. ----30--{et

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