Editorial by Graydon Fox
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On Monday, April 2nd, the Villanova Wildcats will take on the Michigan Wolverines in the 2018 NCAA Basketball National Championship Game.
“The Crowd” projects a final score of Villanova 82.4 – Michigan 73.3 with an over/under of 155.7.
Statistics (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Villanova +16.4 > Michigan +11.0
Points per game: Villanova 86.8 > Michigan 73.9
Points allowed per game: Michigan 62.9 > Villanova 70.4
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Villanova 50.1% > Michigan 46.8%
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Michigan 42.4%> Villanova 42.8%
Three Point Percentage: Villanova 40.1% > Michigan 36.2%
Turnovers per game: Michigan 9.3 > Villanova 10.6
Rebounds per game: Villanova 35.9 > Michigan 33.5
Assists per game: Villanova 16.6 > Michigan 14.5
Villanova advances to the National Championship Game after defeating Kansas 95-79 on Saturday. Kansas had no answer for the Wildcats offense who poured in 95 points and shot 55% from the field (including 18 three pointers made). Villanova has now taken down Radford, Alabama, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Kansas all by double digits. Villanova leads the nation in scoring (86.8) and has six players averaging double figures. The Wildcats are led by first team All-American Jalen Brunson (19.2 PPG, 4.7 APG) who shoots 52.7% from the field and 41.3% from three-point range. Mikal Bridges (17.6 PPG and 5.3 RPG) can score at will and Donte DiVincenzo (13.0 PPG and 3.5 APG) is the team’s second leading assist man. Villanova ranks 5th in the nation in field goal percentage offense (50.1%) and 12th in three-point shooting (40.1%). The Wildcats really take care of the basketball ranking 14th in fewest turnovers (10.6 TPG). Villanova is (6-0) against ranked opponents this season.
Michigan defeated this year’s tournament Cinderella, Loyola by a final score of 69-57. Michigan won the all-important rebound battle and their stifling defense forced Loyola into an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers. The Wolverines have taken down Florida State, Texas A&M, Houston, Montana, and Loyola on their way to the National Championship Game. Michigan only have three double digit scorers this season but rank 8th in points allowed (62.9 PPG). Michigan’s turnover rate (9.3 TPG) was the second best in the nation. The Wolverines are led by Moritz Wagner (14.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG) who shoots 52.8% from the field and 39.7% from three-point range. Wagner was terrific against Loyola posting 22 points and 15 rebounds in the victory. Charles Matthews (13.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG) and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahim (12.6 PPG and 3.3 APG) make up the rest of the double-digit scorers. The Wolverines often play small ball and thus struggle in the rebounding department (33.5 RPG). Michigan is (5-3) against ranked opponents this season.
The magic number for Michigan is 70 as they have lost only once when holding the opposition under that number. The problem for the Wolverines is they will be trying to slow down a Villanova team that led the nation in scoring. Villanova has the statistical edge in scoring, offensive efficiency, rebounding and distributing. Michigan is an elite defensive team but Villanova has too much scoring and I believe they’ll win by double digits as they have in every tournament game thus far.
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