Villanova rides small ball to second title game in 3 years


But a certain subset of sports fans will be paying attention not just to the result but the exact final score, because if the Wildcats can cover the 6.5-point spread against MI, they will become one of a select few recent champions to cover the number in each of their six NCAA tournament games.

If you had just bet on Villanova throughout the NCAA tournament you'd be seeing this scene a lot. Michigan's defense is very good, and I love this Wolverines team, but I just don't see anyone beating the Wildcats the way they're playing right now.

- The eleven Big Ten teams to play in the national title game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 have gone 3-8 straight-up and 1-10 ATS.

The Wildcats won each of their first five tournament games by double digits.

Now the caveats. Last year, North Carolina (scoring margin: 0.1645 points per possession) and Gonzaga (0.1638) entered the game on virtually and effectively identical terms.

On the other side of the court is MI, which made the title game thanks to John Beilein's analytic-based approach to defense.

MI has only scored more than 75 points once during this tournament, when it beat Texas A&M 99-72 in the Sweet 16. "The way we play is to make people take the tough contested 2s".

The Wolverines were unranked when this season began, and didn't even crack the Top 25 for the first time until mid-January.

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It appeared then it was the start for another feel-good year and possibly a third consecutive postseason appearance for the Mets . New Mets third baseman Todd Frazier summed up how imposing Syndergaard is to opposing hitters. "A lot of fun", Syndergaard said.

The Wildcats (35-4) already have the NCAA record for 3-pointers in a season with 454, the NCAA Tournament record with 66 and blew past the Final Four record with 18 against Kansas. Nova has shooters at every position, including six players who shoot 38.7 percent or better from 3-point range.

For the Wildcats, they came out of the gates on fire against Kansas, setting an NCAA record for 3 point shots made en route to a 16 point rollover of Kansas.

MI has the right approach, but Villanova is just too good. Point guard Zavier Simpson said defending the 3-point line is largely an effort in effort. The Wolverines ended Loyola's tournament run on Saturday to advance to meet the Wildcats, who dominated Kansas to appear in their second National Title game in four seasons.

"When you have a group of guys that really trust each other on both ends of the floor, that aren't really caring about individual honors, individual success, just focused on the team successes, it's great to play like that", Brunson explained.

College basketball's wild 2017-18 ride ends in San Antonio, where Villanova meets MI in the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament.

Jay Wright is a great head coach and the Cats have the look of a dynasty, at least as much of a dynasty you can have in the one-and-done era.

While many have anticipated a possible National Championship birth for the Villanova all season long, Michigan's appearance comes as a bit of a surprise.

So why does the college basketball National Championship Game start so late? But it's still a bit jarring to see a solid No. 3 seed like MI completely written off.

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