Villanova Wins the 2018 NCAA National Championship
After 2016's NCAA Tournament Win over UNC, the Wildcats were back in the championship against Michigan. Nova finished second in the Big East behind Xavier but the Wildcats eventually beat the Providence Friars 76-66 for the Big East Conference Championship. Villanova went on to a 36-4 record and a NCAA high 86.6 points per game.
Lead by Jr. Guards Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges and So. G Donte DiVincenzo, Nova received the 1 seed in the East. The Wildcats were an early favorite to win the title this year at odds of 6-1. Villanova took down the 16 seed Radford easily in a 87-61 rout to the second round. There the Wildcats defeated number 9 Alabama and star Collin Sexton in an 81-58 win. A 90-78 sweet-sixteen win over fifth ranked West Virginia meant that the cats were moving on to the elite eight once again. In a tournament that featured huge upsets such as Virginia's lose to the 16 seed UMBC and Arizona's lose to 13 seed Buffalo or the rise of the Ramblers, Nova was focused on winning and forgetting their early in the second round last year. Eventually passing Texas Tech for a trip to the Final Four and a dominate win versus Kansas proved that the Wildcats belonged in the Championship.
Michigan secured a trip to San Antonio with a big win over Loyola-Chicago. The two teams squared off April 2nd for the NCAA Championship. The Wolverines lead by German Forward Moritz Wagner faced an offensive juggernaut in Villanova. Nova proved their worth shooting 10-27 from three, 27-57 FG, and grabbing 38 rebounds (12 of which were offensive). The biggest contribution did not come from the starting lineup however, Donte DiVincenzo came off the bench and lead the team with 31 points shooting 10-15 FG and 5-7 from the perimeter. Michigan shot 24-55 FG, 3-23 3PT, and 11-18 from the free-throw line. The Wolverines lead scorer was Senior Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman who put up 23 points. The Wildcats won 79-62 for their second championship in the past three years.