2018 National Championship Game: Betting odds, picks, line for Michigan vs Villanova (4/2/2018)

Michigan vs Villanova are set to play in the 2018 National Championship Game on Monday, April 2. Find the betting odds, picks and the line for Michigan-Nova below.

2018 National Championship Game

Michigan and Villanova each emerged victorious from the Final Four with double-digit wins, but their wins weren’t at all similar. Nova poured in 3-pointers to crush Kansas, while Michigan roared back to overcome a 10-point second-half deficit against Loyola-Chicago.
2018 National Championship Game: Betting odds, line for Michigan-Villanova

From MyBookie:

Favorite: Villanova by 6.5

Over/under: 145

2018 National Championship game pick for Michigan-Villanova

I’m on the record in thinking Villanova’s going to take this.

2018 National Championship Game time, TV channel, online live stream

Time: 9:20 p.m. ET on Monday, April 2.

Location: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

TV channel: TBS.

Online stream: NCAA.com.

Get to know the matchup of 2018 National Championship Game:

Michigan entered this tournament as the No. 3 seed in the West Regional after winning four games in four days to capture its second straight Big Ten Tournament championship. It beat No. 14 seed Montana, No. 6 seed Houston, No. 7 seed Texas A&M and No. 9 seed Florida State to reach the Final Four, where it ended the Cinderella run of 11th-seeded Loyola. The Ramblers (32-6) won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and then the hearts of the college basketball world during their improbable trip to a South Regional championship. Team chaplain Sister Jean Delores Schmidt became the face of the team, which brought Loyola to the Final Four for the first time since the school won the 1963 national championship.

Villanova won the national title in 2016, beating North Carolina 77-74 on Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beating 3-point shot. It finished second to Xavier during the Big East regular season this year but won the league’s postseason tournament and was the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was ranked No. 6 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, its lowest ranking of the season. The Wildcats spent eight weeks as the No. 1 team in the country. All four of their losses came to Big East opponents, and they’ve won 10 straight games.

Junior point guard Jalen Brunson was named AP Player of the Year on Thursday and entered the Final Four averaging 19.2 points per game. The Wildcats are the highest-scoring team in the country at 86.6 points per game, and make 11.5 3-point attempts per game. That’s the third-most of any team in the nation, and the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent as a team behind the 3-point line. They’ve made more 3-point baskets and total field goals than any other team this season.

Brunson is one of six Wildcats who entered the Final Four averaging double figures in scoring. Junior guard Mikal Bridges is averaging 17.8 points, followed by sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo (12.9), freshman forward Omari Spellman (10.8), junior guard Phil Booth (10.3) and junior forward Eric Paschall (10.3). Spellman is Villanova’s leading rebounder at 7.8 per game.

Michigan is playing in the National Championship Game for the second time in six seasons. It lost to Louisville in 2013, a championship that has since been vacated by the Cardinals because of NCAA violations. The Wolverines will counter Villanova’s potent offense with a defense that is allowing just 63.1 points per game, No. 8 in the country. Michigan also is capable of scoring at a high rate, as evidenced by its 99-72 win against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 when it made 14 of 24 3-point attempts. The Wolverines make an average of 9 3-point shots per game.

The teams have played three times previously, with Villanova holding a 2-1 edge. Villanova won the last matchup, 60-55, on Nov. 25, 2014, in the Progressive Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Wildcats also won the only NCAA Tournament meeting between the programs, upsetting then No. 1-seed Michigan 59-55 in the second round as a No. 8 seed in Dayton, Ohio, in 1985.

Michigan vs Villanova 2018

Everything you need to know about the championship game. The NCAA tournament championship game between Michigan and Villanova is set for Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET on TBS. You can stream it via March Madness Live. The broadcast team will be play-by-play man Jim Nantz, analysts Grant Hill and Bill Raftery, and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson — the same crew that worked Saturday’s semifinal games.

Michigan vs Villanova

Villanova is shooting for its second national championship in three seasons and third all-time, having also won this tournament in 1985. Michigan’s only championship came in 1989, and the Wolverines were last in the Final Four in 2013. That year, they lost the title game to Louisville in a result the NCAA would eventually vacate due to a Cardinals’ scandal.
What Michigan needs to do to win

The Wolverines need to guard the three-point line as voraciously as they have all season. Michigan has the best defense in the country, and the Wolverines have put a particular emphasis on defending the arc. Just 29.8 percent of opponents’ shots from the floor this season have come from deep, the fifth-lowest mark in the country.

Michigan’s offense needs to be more consistent than it was in a semifinal win against Cinderella Loyola-Chicago. The Wolverines started that game on a 10-for-35 dry spell from the field, before they started shooting brilliantly (15-for-24) for the rest of the game. Against Villanova, a 20-minute cold streak from the field would likely be fatal.
What Villanova needs to do to win

The Wildcats don’t need to be perfect, but in the same sense that Michigan needs to guard the three ball, Villanova needs to knock a bunch of those down. They set the all-time single-season record for made three-pointers during their semifinal win against Kansas, and their 18 made triples in that game shattered the previous Final Four game record of 13. Villanova shoots the three on almost 50 percent of its shots from the field, a huge number.

The three won’t always fall, even though Villanova’s a great shooting team. If it happens to be a cold shooting night from deep, the Wildcats will have to lean on Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Phil Booth, Omari Spellman, and the rest of their deep scoring cast to create some of their own shots closer to the basket. They might be fine doing that, but the most straightforward path to a ‘Nova win is draining a whole bunch of threes.
Prediction: Villanova’s going to win.

The Wildcats are 6.5-point favorites in Las Vegas. That seems about right, because Villanova has been the best team in college basketball all season. Michigan’s defense is great, but it’s going to be hard for the Wolverines to outscore the best offense in the sport, anyway.

National championship preview: Villanova vs Michigan – keys to victory

Villanova and Michigan will meet for a national championship matchup Monday night after winning their respective national semifinal matchups Saturday at the Final Four. The Wildcats looked impressive in a rout of Kansas, setting a Final Four record by drilling 14 three-pointers in 21 minutes (and 18 overall). The Wolverines, meanwhile, sent home the tournament’s giant-killing Cinderella in Loyola-Chicago by hitting their stride late in the game thanks to Moritz Wagner’s dominant performance.

Who has the edge? (Hint: It’s Villanova). But this isn’t a seven-game series. Michigan can certainly win this showdown by playing inspired basketball and executing a well-designed John Beilein game plan. Here’s a look at how each team could win:

Villanova’s path to the title game: The Wildcats easily beat Radford in the first round, Alabama in the second round, West Virginia in the Sweet 16, Texas Tech in the Elite Eight and Kansas in the Final Four.

Michigan’s path to the title game: The Wolverines cruised past Montana in the first round, edged Houston off a buzzer-beater in the second round, crushed Texas A&M in the Sweet 16, escaped Florida State in the Elite Eight and knocked off Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four.

► How the Wildcats can cut down the nets: Play defense like they did against Texas Tech and offense like they did against Kansas. The thing about the Wildcats’ hot shooting is that it deflates another team’s momentum and throttles any counter-runs. National player of the year Jalen Brunson has been the leader with his efficient play all tournament, and he also makes everyone around him better.

► How the Wolverines can cut down the nets: Michigan will need to play aggressor like it did in the closing stretch against Loyola, and use a collaborative offensive effort and a smothering defense on Villanova’s perimeter attack. Kansas tried everything, including a zone. Beilein can learn from Kansas’ failures, but he’ll have to mix it up defensively to keep the Wildcats on their heels. Against West Virginia, a press was effective in throwing Villanova off its rhythm so the more pressure then the less tempo Villanova can control.

► Key player for Villanova: Eric Paschall. The big man’s 24 points off 10-for-11 shooting gave the Wildcats a gigantic boost and different dimension offensively. If Paschall and fellow big man Omari Spellman are stretching the floor then it takes pressure off the already-lethal Villanova guards.

► Key player for Michigan: Wagner. While the Wolverines have a fair share of X-factor players, namely Charles Matthews, Wagner has the ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting and shift a game’s momentum with his motor and energy. He doesn’t just make big dunks or clutch three-pointers, he hits them in crucial situations that help put the game out of reach.

The pick: Villanova. If Michigan topples a much better Villanova team it would be an upset. That’s not so much disrespect to Michigan as much as it is a testament of how much Villanova has come into its own in this tournament. In three wins against Big 12 opponents (West Virginia in the Sweet 16, Texas Tech in the Elite Eight and Kansas in the Final Four), the Wildcats have grown into an offense on a ridiculously high level and a defense that’s just as elite.