The national championship game, which pits Villanova vs Michigan head-to-head for the title, is just hours away and both teams have reason to believe they will be the ones to emerge victorious (9:20 PM ET Monday on CBS).
We are down to the wire and with the game almost here, we have all of the information necessary to make some informed Michigan vs Villanova predictions and betting picks for this preview.
The Case for Michigan Wolverines
Entering this game, Michigan are no doubt underdogs but that’s okay. The team were underdogs in the Big 10 Championship tournament too, a tournament they won by defeating both Purdue and Michigan State, two teams who were two-seeds in the NCAA tournament. Both lost relatively early, but Michigan is still standing.
There’s good reason for that. Despite rocky moments early in the season, Michigan has definitely acquitted itself well this year, especially throughout the March Madness tournament. The Wolverines have looked poised under pressure and a large reason for this is John Beilein, who has gotten a lot of buzz as college basketball’s coach of the year.
Beilein has taken a young and athletic Michigan squad and turned them into national contenders. This isn’t his first rodeo though. The 11-year head coach of the program has built competitive teams and programs before. He has experience on his side and that’s gotten Michigan far. The problem however is that Beilein’s counterpart with Villanova, Jay Wright, has experience too, national championship-winning experience.
Outside of Beilein, Michigan’s best chance against Villanova involves a slim margin for error. The Wolverines need to find their best basketball and then they need to double down and be even better. This starts on defense. During their active 14-game winning streak, Michigan has allowed opposing offenses to attempt more than their average shots from three-point range, just twice. This was the same pattern against Loyola-Chicago, who entered their Final Four contest averaging over 18 threes per game, but only took 10 (and made just one) against Michigan.
This is pretty much the best the Wolverines can hope for against Villanova, which the way they are playing right now, is a team without any discernable weaknesses. Michigan can funnel Nova’s three point shooters off the arc and force them to get contested shots in the paint, but the Wildcats are no slouch when bringing the ball in close. That being said, taking an approach of forcing Villanova to step in and take a lower percentage shot, such as the long-range jumper, as opposed to shooting the three just a few feet longer, is definitely something that could play into Michigan’s chances.
But as Michigan center Mo Wagner said in a press conference, there’s not a single player on Villanova’s team who Wright doesn’t feel comfortable with giving them the ball. They can all shoot and there’s no matchup nightmare that Michigan can bring to the table that will really combat that.
The Case for Villanova Wildcats
There’s no reason to believe that Villanova isn’t the best team in the country and honestly, the championship is very well theirs to lose at this point. What people might find hard to believe though is that this team is even better than the one that Villanova did win with just two years ago.
When making a case for why Villanova will win, there’s a lot to say because their case is basically top-down. No team shoots better than the Wildcats and that is something that, as mentioned in this National Championship game preview, is difficult for any team to gameplan. Also, there’s really not much you can do to beat a team like that unless of course defensively, Michigan can play their best game of the season. If not, they will find out the hard way or more accurately, the Kansas way, the reason why Villanova has been so good this season.
For as good as a team approach that the Wildcats have, their success really does start with their dynamic duo of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, two guys who are expected to be drafted in this year’s NBA Draft. Both Brunson and Bridges are incredible talents, so much so that some in college basketball have said that Brunson may be player of the year but he’s not the best player on his own team. That’s why Villanova is in the national championship and why they are hot favorites with the best USA betting websites to win it.
But the crazy thing is, neither Brunson or Bridges leads the team in three-point shooting. That honor belongs to Omari Spellman, who can dunk with the best of them but who also leads the team having made 65 of his 148 three-point attempts. Brunson and Bridges are just slightly behind him. Those two lead the team in scoring with 19.2 and 17.6 points respectively. They give credence to the ‘everybody can shoot’ comment made by Wagner. The team has six players averaging double-digit scoring, all of whom are also shooting 35 percent or better from three-point range.
Our Preview’s Michigan Wolverines vs Villanova Wildcats Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
There is one of two ways this game will go. If Michigan plays at their best, if they utilize their defense to do what no other team has managed to do and that’s effectively limit Villanova from beyond the arc and otherwise, they’ll have a chance to pull off the upset. Otherwise, all indications are that the Wolverines could meet the same fate as Kansas before them, and that’s on the wrong side of a lopsided score.
Villanova has been a tough team to play all year long and they’ve shown that they are the best team in the country. They were the only one-seed to make it this far and they’ll be the one-seed that raises the trophy when all is said and done. So we come to this preview’s betting picks and our Michigan Wolverines vs Villanova Wildcats predictions look like this:
- Bet on the Wildcats -7pts @ -110 with 5Dimes or Intertops. The same spread is -115 with Bovada.
- As for the total points to be scored in this National Championship March Madness matchup, a Villanova win likely means a high-scoring affair so look for the over on 144.5pts @ -110 with any of Bookmaker, 5Dimes or Intertops sportsbooks.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.