MI falls to Villanova in national championship game
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 04, 2018,
Apr 04, 2018, 2:00
They, of course, had not. MI forward Moritz Wagner had his way with Villanova on the other end, scoring nine of Michigan's first 11 points. The largest championship-game underdog in eight years-less a slight than a compliment to the favorite-led by seven early, after confronting the Wildcats with physical three-point defense and strong interior play on offense, particularly from Moritz Wagner.
There was a reason that 'Nova entered Monday night as the biggest title game favorite since Duke in 2010, when the Blue Devils defeated the Butler team of current Celtics coach Brad Stevens, despite MI owning the nation's longest win streak at 14 games.
They say when it really matters; the best players put their hand up and make their performances count. "I never dreamed of this", Wright told TBS television.
Super 'Nova buried two excellent teams in the Final Four in Kansas and MI. He also recorded his seventh and eighth blocked shots of the season.
After nailing a step-back jumper that took down CT on Friday and propelled Notre Dame into the title game, Ogunbowale caught the ball Sunday with three seconds remaining and the game tied, made her way to the elbow, and launched a contested 3-pointer as time expired. One of the best plays John Beilein has ever drawn up is getting the Wolverines to embrace both of those facts simultaneously.
His attitude rubbed off on his players and staff as they tried to process coming one win short of a national championship. They killed all suspense but replaced it with fetching excellence.
"I don't think they were saying that when I first got to Nova", Booth said Sunday of the possibility of being considered the best program in the country. "And I was just feeling it".
The Wildcats (36-4) found a multitude of ways to outflank and outfinesse another opponent in a 79-62 victory over the Michigan Wolverines before a crowd of 67,831 at the Alamodome on Monday night. DiVincenzo showed off his vertical Monday too, leaping high to swat away two shots and throwing down a tomahawk dunk at one point. In the opening minutes of the first half, the Wildcats were uncharacteristically wild. Villanova won every NCAA Tournament game by double figures, the first to do that since North Carolina in 2009. Michigan's aggression off the dribble made Villanova seem briefly half-sluggish. On the other end, Michigan's length and defensive pressure clogged the passing lanes that Villanova thrives on to generate open shots. Wagner had 11 points already, his 24 points and 15 rebounds against Loyola Chicago Saturday still fresh in all the minds. Villanova winning it all was the predictable in a season of chaos. "MI kind of gets it to 10, boom, he shows up again".
The idea that DiVincenzo would blast a barrage that got him to 18 points by halftime, which did occur.
Wright would be loathe to praise himself, but his former players and current assistants formed a biased consensus in the moments after the game that their head coach's status as a legend had been secured.
DiVincenzo, who finished with 31 points off the bench, even had a Michael Jordan-like wink for somebody at the broadcast table after the second dagger. Beilein had to call timeout. He was rightly named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. "Point blank", former star Josh Hart said.