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NCAA Latest: Not much public faith in MI upset of Nova

03 April, 2018, 03:01 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova advanced to the NCAA Championship game, now with a 35-4 record, and will meet MI for the national title on Monday night.

The Wildcats (35-4), who won the 2016 national title via Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating 3 that topped North Carolina 77-74, advanced to face MI (33-7) in Monday's NCAA Tournament finale.

Six Villanova players made multiple 3-point baskets against Kansas.

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.

Wagner, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Germany, scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and was 10 for 16 from the field.

The Jayhawks, back in the dome where they cut down the nets 10 years ago after their last title, made mini-runs.

Kansas struggled to respond to the barrage of threes, and the Wildcats won 95-79. 3-point goals - Kansas 7-21 (Graham 4-8, Newman 2-5, Mykhailiuk 1-4, Garrett 0-2, Vick 0-2), Villanova 18-40 (Paschall 4-5, DiVincenzo 3-5, Brunson 3-8, Spellman 3-9, Bridges 2-5, Booth 2-6, Gillespie 1-2). In the Elite Eight, the Wildcats played their worst game of the tournament but still came away victorious over Texas Tech by 12 points.

About the only drama in the second half was whether the Wildcats would top Loyola Marymount's NCAA Tournament record of 21 3-pointers in a game (against MI in 1990). Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman recorded a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds.




Only 2.4-percent of the brackets filled out on ESPN correctly predicted a Villanova-Michigan title game.

Paschall had not been part of the Villanova team that won the 2016 title - on a three-pointer at the buzzer - because he had to sit out after transferring from Fordham. The Wildcats were 13-of-26 from long range in the first half and led 47-32 heading into the locker room. Kansas' early game plan didn't work, but it didn't do anything to try and make Villanova's life more uncomfortable. The Wolverines have the third-best defense in the country by KenPom's ratings and pargicularly focus on stopping the 3-point shot.

For Michigan, they will look to win their first National Championship since 1989.

"Well, that was just one of those nights", Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "Like I said, our challenge has been that we were so good offensively earlier in the year that we got lazy defensively, so it was hard to get to this point where we are". They play so well together. "You don't dream about getting two out of three years".

"I just think we did a good job being ready to catch and shoot", said Jalen Brunson, who finished with 18 points and six assists, "Everyone was making plays for each other". Moe Wagner is Michigan's MVP on offense, and that was on full display Saturday night.

"We tried to devise a ball-screen defensive plan, which we thought would eliminate some of the actions", Self said.

Because they don't have a lot of depth, the Jayhawks can't afford to foul a lot, but that also limits the number of easy points opponents get from free throws.

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