Michigan Wolverines (33-7) at Villanova Wildcats (35-4)
|Date & Time||Monday April 2, 2018, 9:20 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Villanova Wildcats -7 -- Over/Under: 146
The college basketball championship game comes to us from San Antonio on Monday night, as the Michigan Wolverines take on the Villanova Wildcats.
The Michigan Wolverines will be looking for their first national championship since 1989 and punched their ticket to the title game with wins over Montana, Houston, Texas A&M, Florida State and in the final four on Saturday, Loyola-Chicago by a final score of 69-57. Moritz Wagner led the Wolverines with 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting with 3 threes, 15 rebounds and 3 steals for a huge double-double, while Charles Matthews added 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting with 3 steals of his own as the only other Michigan player to score in double figures in the winning effort. Zavier Simpson was held scoreless but dished out a team-high 3 assists in the win. Wagner leads Michigan with an average of 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while Simpson leads the Wolverines with 3.7 assists per game this season. As a team, Michigan is scoring 73.9 points per game on 46.8% shooting from the field, 36.2% from behind the arc and 66.2% from the foul line this season. The Wolverines are also very tough defensively, allowing the 8th-fewest points per game in the country at 62.9 points per game this season.
The Villanova Wildcats punched their ticket to the title game with wins over Radford, Alabama, West Virginia, Texas Tech and in the final four, Kansas by a final score of 95-79, on the hunt for their first national championship since 2016. Eric Paschall led ‘Nova with 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting with 4 threes, while Jalen Brunson came right behind in 2nd with 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting with 3 triples and a team-high 7 assists. Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman came next with 15 points each, with Spellman adding 13 rebounds and 3 blocks for the double-double, while DiVincenzo added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges added 10 points each to round out the scoring in double figures for the Wildcats in the win, with each knocking down 4 field goals and a pair of threes. Brunson leads Villanova with an average of 19.2 points and 4.7 assists per game while Spellman leads the Wildcats in rebounding with 7.9 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Villanova owns the top scoring offense in the country, scoring 86.8 points per game on the 5th-best field goal percentage in the country at 50.1% from the field, in addition to 40.1% from behind the 3-point line and 77.9% from the foul line, the 8th-best free throw percentage in D-I.
Michigan is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games and 35-16-3 ATS in their last 54 games overall while the under is 5-1-1 in their last 7 NCAA tournament games. Villanova is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 NCAA tournament games and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games against the Big Ten while the over is 15-5 in their last 20 games overall.
When coming into the final four, if you asked me what would probably be the best game of the four options, I would’ve told you Michigan against Villanova and that’s what we have here. Villanova boasts a dangerous offense that can go off at any time, just ask Kansas, as Villanova rung up 18 threes in the win. However, Michigan is no pushover despite being the first team all-time to have never played a top 5 seed to make it to the championship game. All in all, if Michigan can go shot for shot and not let things get out of hand, I think Michigan can hang with the Wildcats, so I’ll take the points with Michigan in what should be a tight game right to the end. Until next season, thanks for coming along for the ride and see you guys next season!