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Best bets for Villanova-Michigan

03 April 2018

They are the better team, they are playing like the better team and they've played like the better team for pretty much the entire season.

Villanova has been college basketball's best and most consistent team all season, and point guard Jalen Brunson might represent the Wildcats' biggest edge in the NCAA championship game against MI.

Think about it: The Wildcats, who have made an NCAA single-season record 454 3s, often put lineups on the floor in which all five players shoot 39 percent or better from distance.

Villanova, which boasts the nation's best offense with 86.8 points per game and is shooting just over 50-percent, is now on a 10-game winning streak and beat the likes of West Virginia, Texas Tech and the Jayhawks during this run. During Villanova's 10-game winning streak, they've 13 or more treys in seven of those games and been below eight just once.

Michigan's defense will make it much more hard on Villanova from downtown, but Jay Wright's crew will still have too much for the Wolverines. "I don't need that many shots because we just play off each other, see how the defense plays us, and we just make plays for each other". But that's not the case here.

"If you didn't know about him, you'd be, "Oh, he did OK" (against Kansas), but I think that's the beauty of Mikal".

Facing Michigan's defense has not been easy, either.

The results have been stellar. That refers to momentum, which Michigan has in spades right now, and Moritz Wagner, Michigan's 6-11, 245-pound forward from Germany who is a handful for everyone.

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The Wildcats are favored to beat MI on Monday night at the Alamodome and win a second national championship in three years, and should such a forecast prove true, it will undoubtedly occur with five Villanova players on the court all superbly efficient at shooting and dribbling and passing and moving. Villanova is third in 3-pointers made per game (11.6), 12th in 3-point field goal percentage (40.1) and third in total 3-pointers attempted (1,131). MI showed against Texas A&M it can get hot, but the Wolverines have struggled on offense in four of their five tournament games.

"Obviously we're very talented offensively", said senior guards Jalen Brunson, who scored 18 points in the win over Kansas.

But Villanova. man, how do you stop that offense? "You just try to maximize the strengths of your individual parts on defense". The whole world loves the over, after all those threes we just saw in the semifinal, but the under is actually the smarter play here. Villanova has been favored by an average of 9.9 points in its five NCAA tournament games and has covered the spread by an average of 7.9 points, with the closest call coming in their tournament opener against 16th-seeded Radford (the Wildcats won by 26 as 22.5-point favorites). "It's an imperfect game".

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"We always talk about getting the domino going", Loyola coach Porter Moser said. During the regular season, Big Ten rival Purdue probably presented the most similar challenges as Villanova for MI.

MI is 38 of 120 (31.7) from 3-point range in the tournament, but opponents are 18 of 75 (24.0) from 3-point range. The second loss, a 92-88 setback on the road, led to an especially tough film session with Yaklich and the players.

"None of us cares about how many shots we take".

The Wolverines apparently learned their lessons.

Best bets for Villanova-Michigan