The Look Back/Look Ahead – NCAA Tournament Title Game

The Look Back

The Final Four
Michigan 69 Loyola Chicago 57
  • At one point in the 2nd half the Ramblers had a 10-point lead. They got outscored 38-16 the rest of the way. Going to be kinda hard to win many Final Four games like that.
  • The Wolverines’ Mo Wagner put up only the 3rd 20+ point, 15+ rips in Semifinals history, joining Larry Bird and Akeem Olajuwon. Decent company to be in. o_O
  • The difference in the game was 3-pointers made. The other stats were almost identical:
    • FG% (43% Loyola vs 42% Michigan)
    • FT made (12 Loyola vs 12 Michigan)
    • Rebounds (32 Loyola vs 36 Michigan)
    • Assists (6 Loyola vs 8 Michigan)
    • 3-pointers made (1 Loyola vs 7 Michigan)
  • The Wolverines won their 7th straight Final Four game, an NCAA record.
  • It was a great run by Loyola with some memorable games, but alas, the Cinderella slipper did not fit.
Villanova 95 Kansas 79
  • Somehow Villanova’s 16-point blowout doesn’t even indicate how badly the Wildcats dominated Kansas. The game was over before the Jayhawks could get their warm-up pants off.
  • By the 12:27 mark in the 1st half, Nova was up 22-4, which included two 11-0 runs.
  • Villanova shot 55% from the floor, including knocking down 18 3’s (more on that in a moment). Kansas decided to combat that by shooting 45% from the floor and knocking down 7 3’s. Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.
  • The Wildcats 18 3-pointers made were a Final Four record. It fell just short of the overall Tournament record of 21 set by Loyola Marymount in 1990 against… Michigan. *thinking emoji* *thinking emoji* *thinking emoji*
  • Kansas had no shot at winning, but Bill Self, Devonte’ Graham, and the rest of the Jayhawks never gave up and never stopped competing. They can return to Lawrence with their heads held high.

The Look Ahead

The Championship Game
Villanova vs Michigan
  • The point spread of Villanova (-6.5) is the largest in a Championship Game since 2010 when Duke was favored by (-7) over Butler.
  • The two teams’ roads to get to the Championship Game were quite different. Michigan defeated a #14, #6 (which included the 9th best buzzer beater of all time), #7, #9, & #11. Meanwhile, Villanova defeated a #16, #9, #5, #3, & #1.
  • Villanova has the #1 offense in the country & #14 defense. Michigan has the #31 offense and #3 defense.
  • Michigan allows 32.7% from 3-point range for the year. Before their semifinal game vs Villanova, the Jayhawks allowed the exact same %, and we know how that turned out.
  • Neither team rebounds the ball particularly well. Villanova is 143rd in the country. Michigan is 279th.

Villanova is versatile enough to be able to win even if their 3’s aren’t falling. For Michigan, Wagner has to have another monster game, along with Abdur-Rahkman. The Wildcats’ Donte DiVincenzo, aka the Michael Jordan of Delaware (we’re assuming that’s a compliment) will be the difference in the game.

Prediction: Villanova 72 Michigan 68