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|WHAT||#7 Michigan (33-7) vs
#1 Villanova (35-4)
San Antonio, TX
|LINE||Villanova –6 (KenPom)|
chance they use the same dang wildcat growl everyone else does: 82%.
It's all about the window. Over the course of the season, Villanova has proven themselves to be the best team in the country by a considerable distance. Over the course of the tournament, same thing. Michigan's been in some dogfights and hasn't beaten a seed higher than #6 Houston; the closest anyone's come to Villanova is 12 points and they ended their semifinal against Kansas in the first four minutes.
But if you push the window back, things get interesting. And I'm not talking about cherry-picking Michigan's win streak. Here's a Torvik slice since January 1st, when Zavier Simpson came off the bench to play 32 minutes against Iowa and established himself the starting point guard, against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams*:
That's half the season—far more than half of the quality opponents—during which Villanova is a point or two better over the course of a 60-possession game. Not Vegas's 7 point gap, not Kenpom's 31% chance at winning, but damn near dead even. Big Ten Tournament Michigan—the Michigan that scored 1.1 and 1.2 PPP against the #10 and #31 defenses in the country, respectively—is a titan ready to go toe to toe with even Villanova and their holy grail offense.
Oops Sorry About Your Windshield I Don't Even Know How That Ball Got Out Of An Arena Michigan… not so much. The shooting that's barely gotten Michigan through four of five tourney games isn't going to cut it. For the love of everything good and holy, make some damn shots. Have a Stauskas seance. Whatever it takes.
*[FWIW: this skips the Northwestern L for Michigan by limiting it to Quad 2; it also skips Villanova's loss to Butler, which happened on 12/30. Since Villanova isn't going to run a zone, call it even?]
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||1||Jalen Brunson||Jr.||6'2, 190||78*||26||129||No|
|KPOY #2 shoots 61/41 on big usage, has better than 2:1 A:TO.|
|G||10||Donte DiVincenzo||Sr.||6'5, 205||63||22||119||No|
|Dual-threat SG is 57/39 w 20 A rate, technically bench player.|
|F||25||Mikal Bridges||Jr.||6'7, 210||70||22||130||God no|
|KPOY #6 is future lottery pick. 59/44, not much in the way of assists.|
|F||4||Eric Paschall||Jr.||6'7 250||75||18||123||No|
|Started 1/27 from 3, 48% since. Also shooting 64% and adding OREBs.|
|F||25||Omari Spellman||Fr.||6'8, 255||67||18||121||God no|
|Stretch 5 hitting 51/44; solid 6% block rate, top 100 DREB guy.|
|G||21||Phil Booth||Jr.||6'3, 195||61||18||119||No|
|Oh look it's another inside-outside threat hitting nearly 40% from 3.|
|G||2||Collin Gillespie||Fr.||6'2", 185||28||13||125||No|
|Just A Shooter hitting 39%.|
|C||2||Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree||Fr.||6'8, 195||31||12||132||Yes!|
|Rudy! Theo! Roy!|
*[last five games minutes from Kenpom.]
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]