The 2018 Men’s Basketball National Title game will take place Monday night. The Alomodome will become the Thunderdome as two teams enter but only one team will leave with the title. The Michigan Wolverines will try and keep the Villanova Wildcats from winning their second title in a three-year span.
Villanova opens up as a 6 and half point favorite after their thrashing of the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday night in San Antonio. When Jay Wright sat down with his coaching staff and mapped out the game plan I am sure he had a great strategy. I am sure they figured they would break the record for 3-pointers in a Final Four game, IN THE FIRST HALF! This Villanova team came out and punched Kansas right in the stomach and wasn’t going to stop until the final horn went off. The Wildcats have taken an NBA approach to their college games and so far, it seems to be working very well, they have been passing up on twos for three’s and hitting them at an unstoppable rate. Through their five games in the NCAA Tournament, Villanova is hitting 42.3 percent of its three-pointers while sinking at least 13 treys on four occasions. Villanova has had an amazing season going 18-0 in non-conference games Wildcats went 13-3 against the ESPN RPI top 25 and 50 teams, respectively, while also ranking No. 1 at KenPom.com, checking in with the top mark in adjusted offensive efficiency and top 15 on the defensive side. This is a team that has almost single handedly ended the season for ousted the nation’s top conference the BIG12 beating West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas in convincing fashion. This is also a team that boasts multiple players that have been in this game before, including Phil Booth who put up 20 points against the Tar Heels just two years ago. It will be hard to make a case against the Wildcats walking through Michigan.
Michigan has gotten to the national championship game thanks to its stellar defense and ability to slow the game down. The Wolverines are holding opponents to 58.6 points per game and a lousy 38.7 shooting percentage. The perimeter defense has been dominating in the NCAA tournament, but they have not seen an offense with near the efficiency of Villanova. For Michigan to be successful they will need to have better performances from Charles Mathews and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkmann. They have to pick up their game so that Villanova can’t double and even triple team big man Mo Wagner. Michigan will also have to hit from the line, which has been an issue all season. In Villanova’s four losses this season, the Wildcats have allowed opponents an average of 23 trips to the charity stripe. Michigan has been bad at free throws this season – shooting 66.2 percent as a team – but attacking the hoop may be the path of least resistance.
Michigan has had a great season, but Villanova has been dominating most of the season. Jalen Brunson and company are just way to loaded on the offensive end, even though the Wolverines will put up a fight, this just doesn’t seem like an even matchup. I like Michigan to stick around if they can shoot half as well as they did in the Texas A&M game but fall in the end due to their free throw shooting troubles. Villanova walks out of this one with the victory and Jay Wright’s second title in three years.
Prediction: Villanova wins 80- 74