Villanova is huge favorite over MI in National Championship


They stunned the Jayhawks with six 3s to take an 18-point lead before the game was 7 minutes old, and rolled on to a 95-79 victory to earn the right to compete for their second national championship in the last three years.

Villanova's Eric Paschall made four of five 3-pointers and went 10-of-11 from the field for a game-high 24 points. AP Player of the Year Jalen Brunson made three 3s and finished with 18 points. MI has gone virtually unchallenged to the Final, not having to play a seed higher than the No. 6 Houston Cougars in the Round of 32, who they beat by a single point. It wasn't almost enough against the hot-shooting Wildcats, who tied their program's single-season wins record and have a chance to win their third NCAA championship.

MI is in the title game for the second time under coach John Beilein, who has never won a national championship.

About the only drama in the second half was whether the Wildcats would top Loyola Marymount's tournament record of 21 3-pointers in a game (against MI, in a loss in 1990).

Devonte Graham led Kansas with 23 points. Charles Matthews added 17 points and Muhammad-Ali-Abdur-Rahkman had 7 on the game.

The last time Villanova was in the Final Four, it shot 61.1 percent from 3-point range and beat Oklahoma by 44.

Read Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details. They just look at you a lot more.

Jaaron Simmons, Simpson's backup, made a 3 and Duncan Robinson hit another a few minutes later and the deficit was down to 45-42 with 10 minutes left.

Kansas coach Bill Self was adamant after the game that it was not KU's offense that cost them in this one. As a result, the Wolverines and Wildcats will collide Monday night for college basketball's national championship.

Silvio De Sousa (7 points and 7 rebounds in 10 minutes) really gave Kansas a spark in the first half when they desperately needed it. He started with the now defunct Sports Fan Radio Network in 1997 as a reporter, giving in-game updates and then facilitating postgame interviews with players on winning teams after games via cell phones.

"He's unbelievable. He's one of those dynamic scorers from the post, he's a great passer, made some unbelievable passers today with both hands", Villanova assistant coach Ashley Howard said.

But this team got here by the seat of its trousers.

Bridges, for his part, said he gained plenty of confidence through his offseason work and that he could "kind of feel myself getting better every day". That's the third-most of any team in the nation, and the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent as a team behind the 3-point line.

"So we're different. They can stretch it from five spots; we can only stretch it from four", Self said. "It's going to be a challenge and we're looking forward to it".

At another point, Villanova found Paschall alone in the corner right in front of the Kansas bench for another 3. In the East regional semifinal against West Virginia, he scored 14 points, and in the regional final against Texas Tech, he had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

"There's a process of going through the season that you have to experience one, two, three times before you can really have this type of success under this pressure in March", Michigan coach John Beilein said.

"Mostly positively. But sometimes if you don't handle it well they look at you negatively".

On Monday night, it will be up to Beilein's very good defense to try to prevent another one. MI refused to fade, even with point guard Zavier Simpson - whose solid play has been critical to the Wolverines' late-season surge - playing terribly.