In a rout, Villanova picked up its second national championship in three years with a 79 -62 win over Michigan on Monday night. The Wildcats did everything right in the second half to blow out the Wolverines.
As Villanova continued to build on its lead throughout the early part of the second half it felt like Michigan was pressing too much on the offensive end of the court as the squad was unable to pull in the offensive boards. This led to several sloppy turnovers and excellent offensive opportunities for Nova throughout the second half; Nova built its lead up to 53-36 with a little over 12 minutes to go.
The rest of the game consistently saw Michigan force shots while Villanova played like it had nothing to lose, despite being in the championship game. Because Michigan was forcing shots, and not running its offense, the Wildcats were able to recover offensive boards and force turnovers to get the rock back to their offense; Villanova continued to build on its lead as a result.
Michigan’s once stout ball security and handling fell apart under pressure throughout the second half as the Wolverines kept trying to force the ball to their playmakers, but the Wildcats defense didn’t leave anyone open. If Michigan was able to locate open shooters, they bricked their shots or missed the rim outright…it was a outright disastrous performance.
Out of half time, the Wildcats continue their hot shooting while Michigan struggled to move the ball against an aggressive defense. Within five minutes of the intermission the Wolverines were trailing 48-33.
Donte DiVinceno was key to Villanova’s come back off of the bench as he was 3-4 from three point range and was seven of 10 from the field — as a group Nova went 13-24 from the field — to propel the Wildcats out to a 37-28 halftime lead. If not for the sophomore’s impressive performance the Wolverines would have been in far better shape heading into the half than they were.
Divinceno’s 31 points from the bench propelled the Wildcats to the national title. Meanwhile Michigan’s bench only managed seven points from six players.
After taking an early lead, Michigan went cold from the field as Nova went on a 14-4 run to retake the lead with about four minutes left in the half. Michigan’s struggles from the charity stripe (the Wolverines were shooting a paltry 57.% at half) were also a big proble.
Villanova’s defense struggled throughout the 10 minutes of the game to stop Wagner as he had scored 11 points through by going 4-5 from the field and 1-2 from beyond the arc. The junior forward was dominant inside the paint against the Wildcats smaller forwards. Especially when it came to collecting offensive boards.
In the early going, Michigan’s defense did a fantastic job of keeping Villanova’s guards in guarded around the arc. Senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman picked off a pass at the top of the key and took it to the hoop for the easy lay-up to give the Wolverine’s their first lead of the game.
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Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.