MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Michigan, Villanova meet in title game

Villanova’s Omari Spellman (14) dunks during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Kansas, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Villanova bombed its way past a blueblood to reach the national title game. Michigan got there by taking away Cinderella's slipper.

This end to March Madness should be good.

A wild NCAA Tournament of upsets comes down to this: Villanova and its squadron of long-range shooters against Michigan and its ultra-stingy defense, Monday night at the Alamodome.

The Wildcats (35-4) turned a Final Four showdown with fellow No. 1 seed Kansas into a laugher, dropping in 3-pointers like they were playing pop-a-shot in the 95-79 rout. Villanova made a Final Four-record 18 3s in a record-matching 40 attempts, its second trip to the title game in three seasons never in doubt.

The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) had a bit more trouble against the bracket's favorite underdogs, overcoming a frightful first half to send Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean packing.

The Wolverines had trouble scoring in their Final Four game to trail Loyola-Chicago by seven at halftime, before finding the right gear in the second to run past the underdog Ramblers 69-57 into the title game.

Their next task: Find some way to slow Villanova's 3-ball roll.

The Wildcats were one of the most proficient 3-point shooting teams during the regular season and upped the 3 ante in the NCAA Tournament, knocking down a record 65 and counting. Villanova literally shot the lights out by the second half, when some scoreboards and upper-level lights went out for a few minutes and darkened the upper decks.

Michigan may have a better answer than Kansas had.

The Wolverines have fixed the one thing holding them back in past seasons, developing a lockdown defense so they no longer have to simply outscore opponents.

Michigan had the nation's No. 3 defense efficiency-wise and put Loyola on lockdown in the second half, holding the Ramblers to 1-of-7 shooting from 3 to send Sister Jean Delores Schmidt to the exits early.

The Wolverines are seeking their first national title since Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson rumbled through the bracket in 1989.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off

Trending