DETROIT (AP) – North Carolina starts future NBA first-rounders and brings more pro prospects off the bench.

The closest most Villanova Wildcats will get to the draft is turning on the TV.

Ask the Wildcats (30-7) about the individual talent gap, and they shrug it off. It takes more than NBA talent to win at the Final Four, and that’s why Villanova feels it has a shot for its latest tournament upset against North Carolina on Saturday night.

“You can have all the talent in the world, but what’s really going to put you over the hump is heart,” Wildcats forward Dwayne Anderson said. “All the Villanova players play with heart. Of course, talent can get you wins, but heart and defending can get you championships.”

That’s what the Tar Heels (32-4) are hoping. In their second consecutive Final Four, many of their lottery-bound hopefuls want to win the title they were denied last year.

North Carolina’s roster is dotted with players likely to see each other in the NBA. The Wildcats, who don’t even boast an all Big East first-team selection, don’t care if Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are considered surefire first-rounders. Villanova advanced to its first Final Four in 24 years on the strength of good old-fashioned teamwork. No big stars, no huge egos and no horde of scouts.

“UNC always has the best talent each year,” Anderson said Friday. “They always have someone who can produce. It’s an advantage for them.”

Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green should join teammates Lawson and Ellington next season in the NBA, and talented freshman big man Ed Davis, who earns comparisons to UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet, is a likely lottery pick if he declares for the draft.

On the other side of the scorer’s table, only Villanova senior forward Dante Cunningham is an NBA hopeful. He’s considered a mid second-rounder, at best, and his 6-foot-8, 230-pound frame could hinder him at the next level.

Junior guard Scottie Reynolds flirted with declaring for the draft after his freshman season, but is a streaky shooter and not enough of a complete point guard (only 3.3 assists per game) to bolt Villanova early.

His popularity, if not his draft potential, is soaring at Villanova after his game-winning basket against Pittsburgh propelled the Wildcats to Detroit.

Reynolds said pro prospects don’t matter much this time of year.

“People on this team can stick to their strengths and don’t have to do things they can’t do,” Reynolds said. “It’s about being more committed to staying together, playing hard, playing smart and playing with pride. We’ve been doing that for a while now.”

The Wildcats, the lowest-seeded team left in the tournament, have only two double-digit scorers in their starting lineup while North Carolina has all five starters averaging at least 10 points.

“I don’t think I see a big gap,” Wildcats guard Reggie Redding said. “We have just as much talent as they do, and I don’t think people realize that. I don’t think you get this far without having any talented players.”

No one doubts the Wildcats are a talented group, especially after they finished fourth in a rugged Big East, then knocked off UCLA, Duke and the top-seeded Panthers in the NCAA tournament.

Cunningham is the solid inside force the Wildcats lacked in their four previous tournaments under coach Jay Wright. Villanova’s pesky guard combination of Reynolds, and top reserves Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes might create a matchup problem.

“Their guards like to get in the lane,” Ellington said. “Coach Wright, he’s usually about his guards making plays.”

Wright said the Wildcats might have the edge because of their versatility. The Wildcats win when they get six or seven players scoring points, grabbing boards and making all the hustle plays. Wright hoped Villanova could push that number up to eight to have a stronger shot at the upset.

Villanova assistant coach Doug West was watching film on his laptop Friday in the locker room, looking for any kind of edge for Saturday’s game. West, a former Villanova star who spent 12 years in the NBA before joining the staff last season, believes more of this year’s Wildcats could be NBA-bound if they stay all four years.

“We think that we have a few players that may not be your lottery picks, but may end up in the NBA some day,” West said. “They may have longer careers than some of those guys. When you come into a program, and learn how to play through that program for four years and you grow and your game develops, you have an opportunity to stay in the league longer. You’re used to being coached.”

AP-ES-04-04-09 0429EDT

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