Villanova opens as biggest favorite in title game since Duke in 2010

Tuesday, 03 Apr, 2018

Jalen Brunson, the AP National Player of the Year, chipped in 18 points and six assists.

Both No. 1 seeds, the Jayhawks and Wildcats mirror each other on both ends of the court, playing a four-guard offense most of the time and wearing down opponents with tenacious man-to-man defense.

The Wildcats also set the single-season three-point record in the first half with 449 threes.

They'd break that record in the second half, finishing the contest with 18 made treys, and a wire-to-wire win over Kansas 95-79.

Devonte' Graham finished with the big-point night many thought he might and shot 9-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. It canned six 3-pointers in the game's first 6:57, establishing a 22-4 lead when Collin Gillespie came off the bench to sink a three.

"They can all shoot", MI center Moe Wagner said. But that's not the case here.

Is Michigan's defense up to the challenge?

THE COACHES: This is John Beilein's 40th season as a college head coach, and his 11 with the Wolverines mark his longest tenure of the seven schools he's coached.

Villanova scored as many points in the first seven minutes Saturday as MI, which trailed 29-22 at halftime, had in the first half of its semifinal game.

The results have been stellar. MI was one of the best defensive teams in the country, as it entered the Final Four with the No. 3 defense in the country. For Michigan's sake, the uglier the better. MI enters the title game on a 14 game winning streak.

Loyola-Chicago attempted only 10 3s in the semifinals, eight below its average.

"Wow. If you put it like that, it's probably cool", Wagner said. "You just gotta give them a lot of credit for what they did". "But also with that being said, I think I've also made it real clear in many ways I'm more proud, too, because we have altered our personality traits to the point that it's given this team the best chance".

The Michigan Wolverines will play the Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship Game on Monday, start time at 9:20 PM ET, at Alamodome, San Antonio, TX. "And he really became a pretty good 3-point shooter". And now he gets another title shot when the Wolverines take on Villanova. Does anyone expect Villanova - after 13 in the first 17 minutes Saturday night - not to shatter it?

"We always talk about getting the domino going", Loyola coach Porter Moser said. "When we stick together on defense, that's what makes us special". They had the speed and tenacity in the backcourt to better line up against Villanova.

"Really disciplined defensively", Villanova coach Jay Wright said of MI. "Until we went up to beat Michigan State we weren't nationally ranked".

Here's the problem for the Wolverines: They didn't get much experience against uptempo teams this season. MI is in the title game for the second time under coach John Beilein, who has never won a national championship.

There were moments of worry for MI fans in every game of the tournament as absolutely nothing has come easily.