Abril 20, 2018

Michigan Wolverines considerable underdog in title bout

02 Abril 2018, 07:58 | Gervasio Siguenza

Redshirt sophomore Charles Matthews was one of two consistent offensive options for Michigan on Friday. Buy this

Redshirt sophomore Charles Matthews was one of two consistent offensive options for Michigan on Friday

The Wolverines had media obligations to fulfill, which occupied much of their time in first half when the Wildcats drained 13 triples and took a 15-point lead into the locker room.

The 2018 National Championship Game will be broadcast on TBS.

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site. Marvin Bagley III seemed to be playing a different game than everyone else, dunking, slashing, shooting and dominating at Duke.

The Sixers will contend for a spot in the NBA Finals next year, so they should not draft a work-in-progress with a late first-round pick.

According to OddsShark, the Wolverines will be getting 6.5 points from the Wildcats on a neutral floor at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Dominant run: Villanova is the fifth national finalists since 1985 to win all five of its tournament games by double digits. The game-day attire for MI coach John Beilein is reflective of the Wolverines' emphasis on old-school fundamentals and defense.

The Final Four this year has come down to just that. "It's easy to get out there and contest a three, but to keep your man in front of you and not allow them to make easy passes to 3-point shooters is hard, but it helps the rest of the team defense". Villanova prefers to play fast, but they can play slow, too. Collin Gillespie has appeared in 31 games, but averages only 4.3 minutes. During the 14-game winning streak the Wolverines will take into the championship game, Michigan's opponents are shooting 27 percent from 3-point range.

Nova has been favored to win every game this season.

One-and-done they are not.

While the game is being played in San Antonio, viewing parties are expected to be held throughout the city.

For the Wolverines to end up being the unexpected victors by the end of the night, their destiny will be predicated on one simple thing: guarding the perimeter aggressively and exceptionally.

On the offensive end, everything runs through Moe Wagner, who carried MI against Loyola. I think he is a top five head coach in all of college basketball.

The scary part about Villanova is it has an array of players able to hit clutch shots from three-point range, with AP player of the year Jalen Brunson leading the way. Junior guard Mikal Bridges is averaging 17.8 points, followed by sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo (12.9), freshman forward Omari Spellman (10.8), junior guard Phil Booth (10.3) and junior forward Eric Paschall (10.3).

These Wolverines with 6-foot-11 Moe Wagner are similar to some of Beilein's teams at West Virginia, like the ones that made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances more than a decade ago with big man Kevin Pittsnogle.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson failed to make an impact in the Final Four win over Loyola of Chicago, which opens up concern for their potential output Monday.

Wagner, Brunson and Bridges will likely have National Basketball Association careers. "I'd like to say Kevin Costner, but I can't go there".

There have been seasons when freshmen were the catalysts to championship runs: Pervis Ellison and Louisville in 1986, Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony in 2003, Anthony Davis and his fellow future National Basketball Association friends at Kentucky in 2012. The Wildcats won the 2016 national title by defeating North Carolina on a buzzer-beating shot.

"It's amusing, because (the friend) watches my games now", Wagner said with a grin and a voice with barely a trace of a German accent.

The Wolverines have made a shift in recent years, transforming into one of the nation's best defensive teams.

"We got guys that want to work hard and be the best that they can be", Simmons, a transfer from OH said.

"He's unbelievable. He's one of those dynamic scorers from the post, he's a great passer, made some unbelievable passers today with both hands", Villanova assistant coach Ashley Howard said.

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