Michigan (33-7) Villanova (35-4)
When: Monday, April 2nd 2018
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Time: 9:20 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: Villanova -5.5/147.5
When the Villanova Wildcats won their historic 1985 Championship under Rollie Massimino, one of their obstacles were the Michigan Wolverines. Fast forward to 2018 and the Wolverines stand in their way of a second national title in three years when the teams meet Monday night in San Antonio, Texas. The Wildcats won the 2016 title with a Kris Jenkins 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat North Carolina, and the Wildcats are using that same long range shooting in this tournament. Villanova drained a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers in Saturday’s semifinal victory over Kansas and have made at least 13 3-pointers in four of their five wins this tournament. Villanova’s 95-79 win over the Jayhawks was never even close and the Wildcats are now the fifth team to win its first five games by double digits since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The only team in that group to lose the championship game was North Carolina (against Villanova) two years ago. The Wolverines ended Loyola Chicago’s Cinderella run and the nation’s longest winning streak with a 69-57 win after trailing by 10 points in the second half. Michigan now owns the longest winning streak in the country at 14 games and are seeking their second national championship (1989). The Wolverines have a hot three-point shooter of their own in Mortiz Wagner, who is 9-of-15 from long distance if you take out his 0-for-7 Elite Eight showing against Florida State. This will be only the fourth meeting between the two schools – and by far the most important.
The Wolverines, who haven’t lost since February 6th, won their final six regular-season games, all three en route to the Big Ten Tournament title, and now five in March Madness. The path has been relatively easy however, as none of the teams that have eliminated this tournament were higher than a No. 6 seed. They have given up more than 63 points only once in this tournament and held Loyola into 1-of-10 3-point shooting and 17 turnovers – something they will need to repeat against Villanova. Moritz Wagner led the way offensively with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Charles Matthews added 17 points. Starting guards Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson combined for seven points on 2-of-17 shooting and will get an even stiffer test against the Wildcats.
Villanova is already the top scoring team in the country (86.8) and eclipsed that with ease against Kansas on Saturday. Jalen Brunson leads the offense and is also a Wooden Award finalist. They will be tested by a Michigan defense that ranks eighth in the nation in points allowed at 62.9 per contest. Brunson had 18 points against Kansas, second on the team to Eric Paschall, who recorded 24 points on a blistering 10-of-11 shooting (4-of-5 3-pointers). Omari Spellman contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds, while sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo had 15 points off the bench. NBA prospect and junior swingman Mikal Bridges, had 10 points against the Jayhawks and has connected on multiple 3-pointers in 13 of the last 14 games.
I’ve been pretty impressed with both of these teams all March long and they are very deserving of this spot in the national title game. I’m definitely going with Villanova to win the game, but Michigan’s defense and ability to hit the three-pointer will keep this game within range. I don’t see the Wildcats hitting 18 3s again against a very good Michigan defense.
Pick: Michigan +6.5
- Wolverines are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win.
- Wolverines are 14-3-2 ATS in their last 19 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wolverines are 4-1-2 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games.
- Wolverines are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
- Wolverines are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.
- Wolverines are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wolverines are 35-16-3 ATS in their last 54 games overall.
- Wolverines are 36-17-4 ATS in their last 57 neutral site games.
- Wolverines are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.
- Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS win.
- Wildcats are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. Big Ten.
- Wildcats are 24-8 ATS in their last 32 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wildcats are 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 22-8 ATS in their last 30 neutral site games.
- Wildcats are 53-21-1 ATS in their last 75 non-conference games.
- Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Wildcats are 25-10 ATS in their last 35 games overall.
- Wildcats are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Wolverines last 4 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 5-1 in Wolverines last 6 non-conference games.
- Under is 5-1-1 in Wolverines last 7 NCAA Tournament games.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 overall.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-1 in Wolverines last 5 Monday games.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 neutral site games.