Michigan Wolverines (33-7) vs. Villanova Wildcats (35-4)
|Date & Time||Monday April 2, 2018, 9:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Villanova Wildcats -6.5 -- Over/Under: 143.5
The Michigan Wolverines and Villanova Wildcats meet Monday in the NCAA Men’s college basketball championship at the Alamodome.
The Michigan Wolverines look to win their second ever championship and first since 1989. The Michigan Wolverines are averaging 73.9 points on 46.8 percent shooting and allowing 62.9 points on 42.5 percent shooting. Moritz Wagner is averaging 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds while Charles Matthews is averaging 13 points and 2.5 assists. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman is the third double-digit scorer and Duncan Robinson is grabbing 2.5 rebounds. The Michigan Wolverines are shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc and 66.2 percent from the free throw line. The Michigan Wolverines are allowing 32.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 33.4 rebounds per game. The Michigan Wolverines have won 12 straight neutral site games.
The Villanova Wildcats look to win their third ever championship and second in the last three years. The Villanova Wildcats are averaging 86.6 points on 49.9 percent shooting and allowing 70.2 points on 42.7 percent shooting. Jalen Brunson is averaging 19.2 points and 4.6 assists while Mikal Bridges is averaging 17.8 points and 5.4 rebounds. Donte DiVincenzo is the third double-digit scorer and Phil Booth is grabbing 3.2 rebounds. The Villanova Wildcats are shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line. The Villanova Wildcats are allowing 32.2 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 35.9 rebounds per game. The Villanova Wildcats are 14-0 SU on neutral site games this season.
The Wolverines are 36-17-4 ATS in their last 57 neutral site games, 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games and 35-16-3 ATS in their last 54 games overall. The Wildcats are 53-21-1 ATS in their last 75 non-conference games, 22-8 ATS in their last 30 neutral site games and 25-10 ATS in their last 35 games overall. The over is 15-5 in Wildcats last 20 overall and the under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 overall.
The Michigan Wolverines were my pick to win the national title once the bracket was announced, and I’m not backing off that prediction. Yes, Michigan has played sloppy at times and could easily have lost two or three times in this tournament. However, finding ways to win ugly this time of year only helps in pressure situations. Michigan is also one of the top defensive teams in the country and isn’t going to give Villanova all of the open looks the Wildcats have enjoyed for much of the tournament. Zavier Simpson is a lockdown defender who can limit Jalen Brunson and force others to beat them. Wagner is also capable of defending in the paint or on the outside, which is also key against these Villanova shooters. Michigan simply has the bodies to throw at Villanova, limiting the explosive offensive production we’ve seen against other teams. Keep in mind, Michigan has allowed 66 or less points in 12 of its last 15 games and has held three of its last five opponents under 40 percent shooting. Also, Michigan is a good shooting team as well, as there’s five players on this roster with more than 30 made threes. While many are concerned that those shots haven’t been falling, you can also make an argument that they’re due. We’ve seen how deadly the Wolverines can be (Texas A&M) when those outside shots are falling and there’s too many good shooters for the clanks to continue. I like this matchup for Michigan and think the Maize and Blue will be crowned champs at the end of the night.
See you guys next season!