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2018 NCAA Championship: Will Villanova or Michigan?

The long wait for the 2018 NCAA Championship is over as the Villanova Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines get ready to battle it out for the glory of cutting down the nets and the bragging rights as this year’s national champion.

Villanova Wilcats vs Michigan Wolverines Prediction

  • When: April 02, 2018, 9:20 PM ET
  • Where: Alamodome
  • Spread: Villanova -7
  • Over/Under : 144.5

Bet on Villanova

Through all the madness, Villanova has always been the favorite to cut down the nets this year.

And, without a doubt you’d be foolish to think they don’t deserve to be in this game. As the 2016 National Champion, the Wildcats are hungrier than ever to capture another title.

Even if this year’s squad is much different than that of 2016, it’s clear they’re the ones to beat.

Led by Player of the Year, Jalen Brunson (the only player left of the 2016 squad), the Wildcats are a force to be reckoned with.

Villanova has won each of their five tournament games by double-digits, including a 95-79 thumping of No. 1 Kansas in one of last weekend’s Final Four games.

Behind a break-neck offense, the Wildcats are very hard to stop; Villanova owns one of the deadliest three-point shooting offenses and their depth is unmatched. Against Kansas, all five starters score in double figures.

However, they may be facing their most difficult opponent so far because the Wolverines are arguably the one team which can put a lid on their offense.

Should the Wildcats underestimate Michigan, they could find themselves shocked when the buzzer signals the end of the game.

Bet on Michigan

If there’s one team that can put a chokehold on Villanova’s offense it’s Michigan. Only two teams this season have hit 10 or more three-pointers on the Wolverines; in fact, Michigan has been even better in this tournament, holding opponents to just 24 percent from beyond the arc.

The Wolverines also have a great weapon in big man Moe Wagner, a player that can neutralize one of Villanova’s bigger threats, center Omari Spellman.

It’s clear the Wolverines will likely stick to their guns and stick to Villanova’s players like white on rice. But, they’ll need much more than defense to win the game.

Sadly, Michigan’s offense has been inconsistent. The Wolverines have scored 80 points or more just twice over their last 13 games. Even if Mo Wagner, Charles Matthews and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have stepped up in this tournament, there’s a high probability they can go cold in this game.

Doubtless the Wolverines are well aware they’re the big underdogs here, but they can pull off an upset if they can spark their offensive game.

Michigan was great from distance shooting during the regular season at .369, but they’ve only been hot in one game this tournament against Texas A&M when they hit 14-of-24 three point attempts. If they can’t get their scoring going, Villanova will find a way to pummel them with points.

Game Analysis: There’s a big matchup between each team’s big men, Nova’s Omari Spellman and Michigan’s Moe Wagner. It might not be a head-to-head battle between these two but if Michigan can take advantage of Wagner’s better mobility then they’ll have a greater opportunity to prevent Villanova from getting too far ahead.

Whoever wins that battle will have a tactical advantage that could lead to the win. If the Wolverines can get Brunson into ball screen situation with Wagner setting the pick, it might lead to more points on the board.

Both Spellman and Wagner are good shooters, can attack the rim and fight for rebounds as well as post baskets, but Wagner arguably moves better and could give the Wolverines a slight advantage.

Prediction: Expect a classic battle. The Wildcats are the favorite to win, but Michigan will fight tooth and claw.

In the end though there can be only one winner and the Wildcats are a better team.

Pick: Villanova