NCAA National Championship Preview: (1) Villanova vs. (3) Michigan
The day is finally here.
After an incredibly exciting tournament filled with buzzer-beaters, unexpected runs and finishes, and shocking upsets, we are down to the last two teams: the best team in the nation in the one-seed Villanova Wildcats and the hottest team in the nation in the three-seed Michigan Wolverines. One team has the most complete unit in the country, while the other has been on a torrid streak ever since February, which included a BIG 10 tournament championship. College’s best offence will take on its best defense.
Now, something will have to give.
Entering the game, the University of Michigan dispatched the Cinderella story of the tournament, by make light work of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. They did it by dominating Sister Jean’s squad with their best player in Moe Wagner, who was relentless on the score sheet and on the glass, grabbing 15-boards and putting up 24-points. The Wolverines will need another big performance from their star big if they wish to upset Villanova.
The Wildcats take an absurd number of three-pointers per game and for good reason too, shooting 40.1% from long range on the year. What makes Head Coach Jay Wright’s squad even more dangerous is the fact that seemingly any player he puts into the game, can hit from long distance.
When it comes to countering players like Mikal Bridges who can hit with ease from the perimeter, the Wolverines can at least enter the contest with confidence after limiting the Ramblers to just 10% from long range in their Final Four matchup. On the season, Loyola-Chicago shot the ball at a very impressive 40% clip from beyond the arc too.
Jalen Brunson will have to lead the way for the Wildcats and set the pace against the nation’s top defence. A proven veteran on the collegiate level, Brunson is the best player in the National Championship game and will need to play the part because despite Nova being heavily favoured in the matchup, this year’s March Madness has time and time again that pre-game odds need to be thrown out the window once the opening whistle blows.
After dismantling the one-seed Kansas Jayhawks and hitting a record number of Final Four three-pointers, the Wildcats, similar to Michigan, will be entering the game with a ton of momentum. One team will need to be cooled off tonight and only time will tell us who that may be.
Predictions: Villanova beats Michigan by score of 80-73