National Championship Game: Michigan-Villanova preview, prediction

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines will play the Villanova Wildcats tonight in the national championship game of college basketball.

Despite an NCAA Tournament filled with upsets, Monday night's men's championship game in San Antonio will match a No. 1 seed against a No. 3 seed. In their semifinal game against Kansas, they had 20 assists on 36 made baskets - and assists on 12 of the 18 made 3-pointers. The Wildcats beat the Jayhawks by five in the South Region final two years ago and went on to win their second national title with a scintillating 77-74 victory over North Carolina on a three-point buzzer beater by Kris Jenkins. Duke was trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since it won the national championship in 2015.

On Saturday, the typical Villanova possession involved working the ball down low on the wing, then a skip pass across the bottom of the paint, followed by one, two or three passes around the arc until somebody got open.

"They're all talented", Villanova redshirt junior forward/ guard Mikal Bridges said Friday, referring to Kansas' four starting guards.

Third-seeded MI doesn't have much support from the public when it comes to pulling off an upset of No. 1 seed Villanova.

Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman were the two players Self was anxious about Azubuike having to defend, and those two led Villanova's attack.

On Monday night, the Wildcats and Wolverines will battle for the title. He finished the game with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Speaking of Villanova, their three-point shooting is absolutely fun to watch when everything is going in. Paschall shot 28 percent from 3 last season, his first playing for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2015-16 championship year, and then he couldn't buy a bucket from deep early this season.

KSN spoke to a ton of KU fans but also K-State folks who said cheering on Kansas will always come first.

Their 18 3s against Kansas on way to a 67-47 lead are the most ever in a Final Four game.

Villanova had 20 assists and only 10 turnovers, Brunson and Phil Booth leading the assist parade with six each. The Wolverines have the third-best defense in the country by KenPom's ratings and pargicularly focus on stopping the 3-point shot. Villanova is the best team in the country in offensive efficiency numbers, MI ranks third-best nationally on the defensive front. But, that's why they play the game. Kansas, on the other hand, could just never get themselves going.

"This is definitely our best", said Villanova coach Jay Wright, who more often than not praised his team's sustained defense against the Jayhawks. He scored 18 points.

These title contenders are here because they have veteran leaders, savvy players who know the game's nuances and can handle the brightest spotlights without peeking around the corner to a professional career. "They can do everything, moving off the ball, coming off ball screens". And the rest of the KU bench merely checked in with the game out of reach as a way to give Graham, Mykhailiuk and Newman the final ovation they deserved.

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