Michigan Wolverines considerable underdog in title bout
03 April, 2018, 02:44 | Author: Felix Jensen
Mikal Bridges:Michigan's Bridges problem won't go away just yet.
This is not to demean MI, which continued its title quest with a nice comeback against surprising Loyola-Chicago.
Exhausted of watching victories fizzle away through defensive deficiencies, coach John Beilein made a philosophical change, putting an emphasis on that side of the ball.
That first truism remains accurate: Top-seeded Villanova (35-4), the Big East champion, and third-seeded MI (33-7), the Big Ten champion, are both among the best teams in collegebasketball. The weird shooting background at the Alamodome had no effect on them Saturday as they nailed 18 shots from beyond the arc while blowing out Kansas. Mikal Bridges, a forward - though he can play like a guard and has the wingspan of a center - is expected to be taken in the National Basketball Association draft in June with a lottery pick. So is Donte DiVincenzo. If they stay somewhere near those numbers, I would guess they'll both be top three - if not top two - preseason picks.
If you read manyNCAAbasketball experts online, or watch podcasts by sports stations like ESPN, CBS Sports, SI and various others, they will lead you to believe that the Michigan Wolverines have zero chance to win this game. He's also the player anyone would want with the game on the line.
I would probably be the last guy to ask this since I had the worst KMAland Bracket Challenge entry for someone that filled out the entire bracket, but I'm going to give it a go anyway.
Omari Spellman is a terrific three-point shooter and he plays center. And while Kansas surprised some of us by bouncing Duke from the regional finals when it seemed like Duke was a bit better and more balanced, they ran into a hardwood buzz saw in Villanova. MI will need its stellar seniors to get into a rhythm to have any shot at taking down the Wildcats.
"They can all shoot", Wagner said in an understatement.
"This is Golden State Warriors here", Beilein said. The elite characteristic of this team lies in how they can shoot so poorly yet still grind out the victory with their lockdown defense.
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That's the idea. Villanova coach Jay Wright is a fan of National Basketball Association coach Mike D'Antoni, whose go-go style with the Phoenix Suns became a trend-setter.
Put it this way: Freddie Banks would love this Villanova team.
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Villanova has already set the national record for 3-pointers made in a season, and if the Wildcats score at least 59 points on Monday night they'll also finish the year as the highest scoring team in the country for the first time since 1950. And he did so against Loyola during his brilliant all-around performance. He had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Loyola.
So how unique is Wagner? "I think he's one of those players that you're not going to shut him down". In the Loyola game, he shot-faked with his right hand and threw a left-handed bounce pass back door for a layup.
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"He has the ability to beat you in any way".
If you're looking for more analysis, be sure to check out PickCenter. So, if you have kept track of such things, Villanova now has been favored in every game this season.
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