The 3rd seeded Michigan Wolverines will take on the 1st seeded Villanova Wildcats on Monday night in the National Championship game. Although both teams won their Final Four matchup, they did so in very different fashions. Villanova continued its dominance this tournament with a 95 to 79 rout of the Kansas Jayhawks. The Wildcats made 18 three pointers which is the second most in tournament history and have yet to win a game by less than 12 points. Michigan was trailing Loyola-Chicago by as many as 10 points in the second half but their defense shut down the Ramblers and the Wolverines prevailed with the 69 to 57 victory. Michigan is the first team in tournament history to make the title game without beating a top 5-seeded team.
Michigan is playing for the title due to the outstanding play of Moe Wagner who made history against Loyola. His 24 points and 15 rebounds made him just the 3rd player in the last 40 years to have at least 20 and 15 joining Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird. Charles Matthews also had a nice game making 7 of his 12 shots for 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. As a team, they shot 42 percent from the field including 7 of 28 from behind the arc. Defensively, they shut the Ramblers down in the second half and easily won the turnover battle 17 to 11. They had 10 steals and 2 blocks while outrebounding Kansas 36 to 32.
Villanova shot lights out versus Kansas who was never really in the game. They shot 55 percent from the field and made 18 of their 40 three point attempts. Eric Paschall led the team with 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting. National Player of the year Jalen Brunson also played well scoring 18 points and dishing out 6 assists. If there was a negative for Villanova’s offense it was they attempted just 7 free throws. Defensively, they had 3 steals and 5 blocks on their way to forcing 9 Jayhawk turnovers. Kansas shot 45 percent from the field and made just 7 of 21 three pointers.
Michigan was unranked to start the season and was 19-7 in Early February. They have since reeled off 14 straight wins and have the chance to become national champions. Villanova has dominated all tournament and the 6.5 points they are favored by is the most in the title game since 2010. The Wildcats shoot a lot of three pointers with 48 percent of their shots being from deep. Michigan’s biggest strength is their perimeter defense so this will be a great matchup. They will have their hands full as Villanova ranked first this season in points per game with 87. Another strength for the Wolverines is they do not turn the ball over. They Finished the season ranked 7th in the country in assist to turnover ratio. Villanova has been favored in every single game they played this season.
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