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Villanova Looks Undeniable Entering National Championship

Villanova forward Omari Spellman celebrates during NCAA college basketball tournament

For most of the season, Villanova has been seen as the best basketball team in the nation and there is little reason to doubt that entering the national championship game. The Wildcats have won their last 10 games and have posted a ridiculous +17.8 scoring margin through the NCAA Tournament. Now all that stands between Villanova and a national championship is the white-hot Michigan Wolverines – a team that has won 16 of its last 17 games.

SHARK BITES
  • Villanova has scored at least 80 points in 10 of its last 13 games.
  • Underdogs are 3-1 SU and ATS in the last 4 national championship games.
  • Michigan is 29-0 this season when Duncan Robinson scores at least 6 points.

Many people thought Villanova was finally going to be pushed in its Final Four matchup against Kansas but that was not the case. ’Nova proved to be one of the best three-point shooting teams in college basketball history, draining 18 triples and cruising past Kansas 95-79. Through their five games in the NCAA Tournament, Villanova is hitting 42.3 percent of its three-pointers while sinking at least 13 treys on four occasions. It’s hard not to see the parallels from the Villanova squad that won the national championship two years ago – though the 2016 team was a little more efficient shooting the three, this iteration has been simply overwhelming opponents with its number of attempts and depth of shooting.

Even if the long ball isn’t falling, Villanova is still a threat. The Wildcats struggled from beyond the arc against Texas Tech in the Elite Eight but merely held the Red Raiders to 59 points and a 33.3 shooting percentage while dominating the rebound department. Jay Wright has constructed a team of seven-deep, do-it-all players who can basically thrive in any situation they are asked to compete in.

Michigan has gotten to the national championship game thanks to its stellar defense and ability to slow the game down. The Wolverines are holding opponents to 58.6 points per game and a lousy 38.7 shooting percentage. The reason for this has been largely twofold. First, Michigan’s perimeter defense has been phenomenal – which should not be a surprise considering it has been great all season. Second, Michigan has been excellent at limiting ball movement, as none of its five opponents during the tournament has posted a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.

Offensively, Michigan does leave a lot to be desired. Mo Wagner, Charles Matthews and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have all gone off during the tournament but the offense remains inconsistent by and large. The Wolverines have scored 80 points just twice in their last 13 games – something Villanova has done 10 times in the same span. Michigan’s best path to victory may be getting to the line. In Villanova’s four losses this season, the Wildcats have allowed opponents an average of 23 trips to the charity stripe. Michigan has been bad at free throws this season – shooting 66.2 percent as a team – but attacking the hoop may be the path of least resistance.

Michigan Wolverines vs Villanova Wildcats Matchup

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

The Villanova Wildcats are 35-4 so far on the season, and 26-12-1 vs the number. The Michigan Wolverines, meanwhile, are 33-7 and 25-13-1 ATS. OVER/UNDER bettors have seen Villanova go 26-13 and Michigan go 18-20-1 on betting totals.

The Wildcats-Wolverines odds would favor the Wildcats if the lines were set according to our power ranks. Villanova is rated No. 3 in the current OddsShark poll, while Michigan is at No. 70.

Statistical Matchup

Scoring and defensive stats point to some betting edges in this matchup. The game features Villanova's No. 1-ranked scoring average of 86.77 PPG, against a Michigan defense rated No. 8 and allowing 62.92 PPG. The Wildcats' FG% has averaged 50.06% to date this season, more than the Wolverines shooters have managed so far (46.86% per game).

Recent Outings Betting Recap

Loyola-Chicago was victimized for 24 points and 15 rebounds by Moritz Wagner as the Wolverines bested the Ramblers 69-57 in college basketball action on Saturday.

Eric Paschall scored 24 points leading the Wildcats to a 95-79 victory over Kansas at Alamodome on Saturday.

Betting Trends
  • Michigan is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games
  • Michigan is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Michigan's last 5 games
  • Villanova is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
  • Villanova is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 15 of Villanova's last 20 games

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