College basketball fans, tonight it all ends. Tonight’s title game should give fans the show they deserve after a wild March Madness Tournament. The hottest team in the nation will square off against the undisputed most talented team in the country.
Destiny vs. Dynasty.
Defense vs. Offense.
I’ll be continuously blogging my thoughts on the game so feel free to follow this channel and enjoy the ride with me! Before we get underway though, here are a few of my pregame thoughts:
- Michigan does a fantastic job of running shooters off of the three point line. Those of you who are expecting to see a repeat of Villanova-Kansas will be disappointed. This game should resemble the Villanova-Texas Tech Elite Eight showdown as Michigan’s defense is very similar to Tech’s.
- Michigan needs Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman to get going early. He was critical in the Big 10 Tournament with his three point shooting and playmaking off of the dribble.
- How will Michigan guard Brunson in the post? Simpson gives up three inches to Brunson and has difficulty staying out of foul trouble. Kansas tried to double him, but that did not work as he passed through the double too well.
Under 16 Timeout – 13:56, Michigan 11, Villanova 8
Michigan’s defense is giving Villanova all sorts of problems so far. Coach Beilein has chosen not to double Brunson in the post and stay with the Wildcat shooters on the perimeter instead. Brunson has 4 early points, but the story of the game is Moe Wagner so far. He has 9 of Michigan’s 11 points so far and has scored in the post, off the dribble and behind the arc. Abdur-Rahkman looks locked in early on both sides of the ball though.
Under 12 Timeout – 11:51, Michigan 18, Villanova 14
DiVincenzo knocked down Villanova’s first three pointer of the game. He looks poised to have a big game. However, Michigan’s defense is definitely giving the Wildcats problems early on. They are struggling to find space on the perimeter and all of their shots are being contested. Abdur-Rahkman is forcing the issue early on offense for Michigan. Jordan Poole had a nice and-one off the dribble.
Under 8 Timeout -7:32, Michigan 21, Villanova 18
Villanova keeping plays alive despite not making shots. DiVincenzo’s hustle is paying dividends as Michigan is struggling to contain him on the boards. Jordan Poole has continued to make plays for the Wolverines on the perimeter as he had a nice pick and roll assist to Wagner. There was a bit of a scuffle between Wagner and Paschall as the two big men hit the deck going after a loose ball. Emotions are running high! Michigan’s offense seems to be falling into a little bit of a drought here. Their defense is good enough to keep them in it, but they need to find their rhythm again.
Under 4 Timeout – 3:59, Villanova 30, Michigan 26
Donte DiVincenzo has completely taken over this game. DiVincenzo has 16 of Villanova’s 30 points and is the only player consistently hitting shots. The Wildcats are find their offense by creating second chance opportunities off of hustle plays. Michigan needs to get back into a groove on offense. Abdur-Rahkman has tried to force the issue by taking it to the rim. The Wolverines need more of that moving forward.
Halftime – Villanova 37, Michigan 28
This game is in danger of getting away from the Wolverines. They did a great job of limiting the Wildcats as a whole, but DiVincenzo carried their offense for a solid 10 minutes. DiVincenzo finished the half with 18 points. Wagner started out really hot from the field, but Villanova did a great job of limiting his touches in the second part of the first half. Michigan needs Charles Matthews to find a groove on offense. Matthews is 1-5 with 2 points after scoring 18 against Loyola in the semifinals.
Michigan Timeout – 18:03, Villanova 44, Michigan 30
Hold onto your hats, folks. Villanova is getting ready to blow this game open. Wagner opened up the half with a nice move to the bucket, but Simpson, rather than box out, watched Villanova miss a three. This allowed Bridges to track down the loose ball and finish the second chance shot. Paschall then knocked down a three and blew past Wagner for a layup capping off of a 7-0 run. Michigan needs to get back to the basics and take the ball to the hole and communicate better on defense.
Under 16 Timeout – 15:24, Villanova 48, Michigan 33
This game is close to being over. Michigan’s offense is dead in the water. There is no movement, no confidence and no swagger. Villanova’s defense, the underrated part of their team, is winning them this game right now.
Under 4 Timeout – 3:21, Villanova 74, Michigan 54
Well it’s safe to say that the Villanova Wildcats will win their second national title in three years behind a fantastic performance from Donte DiVincenzo. DiVincenzo currently has 29 points off of the bench. Villanova has not missed a beat with Brunson on the bench with four fouls, which really shows you how talented this Wildcat team is. Villanova has completely rampaged the competition in this NCAA Tournament and that is a testament to how good of a coach Jay Wright is. This is not a knock on Michigan though. Abdur-Rahkman has 19 points and played his heart out. This Wolverine team played with fire and heart from February until now and they have no reason to hang their heads after this game.
Final – Villanova 79, Michigan 62
That’s it! Villanova is your 2018 national champions! Congratulations the Wildcats and Coach Jay Wright!
Featured image by SportsRook.
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