With that win, Villanova moved to 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS over its last 10 games.
That 3-centric approach has powered Villanova to offensive heights never before seen in the college game. "Everytime you come up here you kinda just pinch yourself and say, 'whew, we're still here, '" said Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt and her favorite team, the Missouri Valley Conference champions, making their first NCAA appearance since 1985, will return to Chicago as heroes, regardless.
By then, the Wildcats had already matched the Final Four single-game record with 13 of their threes. Also, it's Michigan. Plainly the Wolverines' presence is no fluke. Visit SportsLine now to see Zack Cimini's strong against-the-spread pick for Michigan-Villanova, all from a feared Vegas handicapper who's a ideal 4-0 on his NCAA Tournament picks involving these two teams.
Welcome to VAVEL USA's LIVE coverage of the 2018 Final Four championship game: Michigan Wolverines vs. Villanova Wildcats! Then came the NCAA Tournament, and here they are.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines have their own double-digit winning streak, having now won 14 games in a row. That way we don't have insane things like TCU, who played a large number of games with their win in the NIT, winning the Big 12 like we did previous year.
This is a fine model for March: survive and advance.
When a German coaching friend put Wagner on MI coach John Beilein's radar five years ago, Beilein could tell Wagner wasn't a normal teenager from their first phone conversation. "But after that, it's about breaks, and anything can happen". If shots aren't falling, they can always win with defense. Villanova is a giant.
Point 4: So....who wins? The Wildcats' point guard, Jalen Brunson, is the consensus national player of the year.
Mikal Bridges isn't anxious about the numbers of shots he's getting within Villanova's highly efficient attack.
After giving up 21 3-point attempts in a 70-69 loss to No. 5 Purdue on January 9 at home, including 11 in the first half, MI coach John Beilein decided it was time to address the issue of defending the 3-point line. They can beat you in so many different ways, and while MI is the same way, they are slightly overmatched here. U-M is 3-1-1 against the spread in the tournament and has yet to be an underdog. Still, the storyline of this game, as it is in so many championship matchups, is that of what matters more, offense or defense? That may be why the Wildcats barely even talk about it.
"We recruit guys that just want to be in college", Wright said.
In terms of Xs and Os, this is a compelling matchup.
The Wolverines shut down Loyola-Chicago's 3-point shooters in the national semifinals and have been adept at limiting opponents' 3-point attempts by switching and jamming shooters along the arc. But facing one of the best defensive teams in the country, the best defensive team Beilein has ever had in 11 seasons in Ann Arbor, the Ramblers scored just 16 points in the final 14 minutes.
Villanova (35-4), the No. 1 seed from the East Region, set records for 3-pointers made for the season (454) and the NCAA tournament (66), and their 18 against fellow No. 1 seed Kansas in Saturday's 95-79 win broke a Final Four mark. Asked whether he would rather make the kind of game-winning, three-point shot Kris Jenkins made for Villanova for its 2016 national title, or clinch a game with a defensive stop, a steal of some kind, Brunson did not hesitate. It did not matter.