Villanova 79, Michigan 62 Comment Count

Ace April 3rd, 2018 at 12:04 AM

Turns out rise-up threes are difficult to guard. [Bryan Fuller]

Someone finally solved Michigan's defense.

It took Villanova's historically great offense and Donte DiVincenzo's all-timer of a game. After a slow start, the Wildcats overwhelmed Michigan, going 17-for-30 inside the arc, 10-for-27 from beyond it, and grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. When they missed shots, they followed them. When they pulled up for three, they struck the fear of God into your heart. They were so good they didn't even need double-digit points from Jalen Brunson, the national player of the year, to take home their second national title in three years.

The team that wasn't supposed to be here looked, unfortunately, like they weren't supposed to be here. For the fifth time in six tournament games, Michigan's offense looked out of sorts, and they couldn't afford that against Nova. The Wolverines shot a woeful 3-for-23 from beyond the arc. Moe Wagner scored 11 quick points, then only five the rest of the way, looking increasingly frustrated by his misses and fouls. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman tried to carry the team in his final collegiate game, only for his 23 points to go for naught. No other Michigan player reached double digits until Zavier Simpson's layup with under four minutes to play.

Mood. [Fuller]

Thus capped an unbelievable run for a Michigan team unlike any we've seen since John Beilein's arrival. They came one game short of a most improbable national title with a couple transfers and freshmen added to the leftovers from last year's similarly improbable run to the Sweet Sixteen. Depending on NBA Draft decisions, this team may only lose Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson, and they bring in arguably the most talented recruiting class Beilein has landed. Even if Wagner (or, less likely, Charles Matthews) goes pro, they will be loaded for another deep postseason run.

Tonight went as many expected, and every missed opportunity at a national championship stings. We got a lot more out of this team than anyone imagined, though. The heads may hang tonight, but this group will stand tall forever, and this may well be the precursor to something even greater.

[Hit THE JUMP for the more photos box score.]

All photos from San Antonio by Bryan Fuller. All photos from the Crisler Center by Marc-Gregor Campredon.



April 3rd, 2018 at 6:26 AM ^

The missed goaltend was bs, but the officiating did not play into the outcome. Villanova has the perfect college offense, and couldn't be stopped. The story of the game was Michigan not making shots.


April 3rd, 2018 at 8:34 AM ^

I beg to differ, i've played the game and when the game is tight like it was at that point, a 5 point swing is huge!!!  I can't stress that enough, they would have been down 4 points and things would have been tight going into the locker room.  Instead it gave Villanova that separation that they needed to ease their minds.  To me that was a HUGE call or should i say miss.  The psyche totally changes from a 4 point game to a 9 point game.  To me that changed the game.   Everyone would have still been a little tight with a closer score at that point specially going into half time.   They couldn't be stopped after that because they gained the mindset advantage that we have a cushion and we can play looser.   That is when the flood gates opened.  



the video shows that a part of the ball was above the rim when villanova pinned it against the rim.   So it should have been goal tending. 


April 3rd, 2018 at 9:15 AM ^

The called the game for Brunson and against Z.  Z standing still Brunson lowers his shoulder leads with an elbow and Z is called.  On the other end, he reaches in knocks Z to the ground and it's an offensive foul on Z.

I think it was very lopsided for a 5-10 minute stretch then once the game was over they did a bunch of equalizer calls.  Until then it was very ticky tacky most of the game.

They still shot better. Especially from 3 and the line.

Their 6th man double dribble carried all night, was ugly watching him carry it every single time he went to the hoop.  Doesn't take away him shooting the lights out though.

They still shot better but it would have been much closer had they not saddled us with ridiculous fouls for the first part of the game throwing out rotation to shit.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 3rd, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

Villanova really was an exceptionally good team and I didn't expect Michigan to win. Once they got hot and Michigan's cold streak continued, there was nothing they could do.  

But with that being said, I'm here to gripe about the officiating!  

Agree -  there was a stretch of truly vintage NCAA incompetent officiating in the first half that was crucial to Nova's run.  When Michigan was stuck on 21 for a while and lost all their offensive rhythm, it was danger time. And then the refs made a series of garbage calls.

The and-1 they called on Simpson on Divencenzo was a goddamn disgrace.  If I recall correctly Simpson literally did not touch him.  DiVincenzo got another soft one in that run and so did Brunson.  They LOVED calling gentle ticky-tack fouls for Brunson while allowing him to elbow/shoulder Z in the face on drives in the lane (he got called for that once I think, but he was clearly furstrated and playing more physical than he was accustomed to). Refs even missed a call that became a Michigan turnover when the Nova dude clearly pawed it out of bounds. And they missed travels/double dribbles on Nova's offensive end.  They did toss Michigan some make-up calls but they weren't nearly as critical as the calls/non-calls that went in Nova's favor.  So frustrating.

Michigan wasn't going to win but it would've been nice to see a game.  And Michigan controled the game for the first few minutes and I really thought for a minute that they might be able to do it.  But, its hard to keep it close when the officiating is unadulterated DOGSHIT. I wouldn't expect anything less from the NCAA, of course.


April 3rd, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

This is exactly how I felt.  There were some bad calls that started the route.  I think the route happens either way but angers me that the refs started it.  I don't care if the refs suck as long as they're fair.  Last night, they were not fair during a very important stretch of the game. I mean, when I played, if you had two hands on the ball, touched it to the floor then dribbled it was double dribble.  Guess they changed that rule.  And plowing into a guy with your shoulder to create space is a foul on the offense.  Anyhow, proud of this team and what they accomplished. It was a great run and the future looks bright. 


April 3rd, 2018 at 10:02 AM ^

Full credit to the Italian Stallian (Not his nickname, just don't feel like looking up his name). However, I do feel that the calls were not equally distributed.  Both teams were being aggressive on defense and offense and I do think Villinova got the early calls, which helped them early on. But they had a hot hand, and Michigan didn't have the answer.  Duncan missed some open shots, and Wagner just gassed out after putting in 100%.

Michigan did a great job stopping options 1,2, and 3 on Nova, they just happened to have another option to take over. This was not a similar situation to the Louisville game.  Michigan was not the better team overall, and unfortunately, not tonight. 

Great season.  very proud of all of them. And Baird got to get time in a national championship game.  How cool is that.    


April 3rd, 2018 at 9:31 AM ^

Villanova was the best team in college basketball this year and it showed throughout the tourney.  It was going to take a perfect game from UM and probably an off day by Villanova for UM to win.

Great run by this team and should hold their heads high. Did themselves and the university proud.  Great season guys.....


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:08 AM ^

A team built out of spare parts and duct tape. Beilein's famous shooting? Not up to the usual standard all year, mostly absent in the tourney. Scorers? Some good players, but no greats on the perimeter. Flaws known all season long.

And yet somehow, four-in-four B1G champions. A miracle last-second shot. A Final Four and a Final.

I love it. Sad about the result, but they achieved far more than we could have dreamed.

And the future is so bright. I'll see you all in Minneapolis next year.

Detroit Dan

April 3rd, 2018 at 12:09 AM ^

Yes, great season, and Villanova is a great champion.  Michigan has nothing to be ashamed of -- we left it all on the floor, but the better team won.  We play great defense, but 3-point shooting was the difference.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

April 3rd, 2018 at 12:10 AM ^

Very fitting and on point again. Thanks for your incredible coverage of this team all season. Hats off to you and the Mgoteam. I also love how you ended it on an appropriately optimistic note for the future. This team was absolutely incredible, and they did a lot of great things for the program. So proud of them.


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:10 AM ^

NO heads should be hanging.  This was the game we couldn't get - poor shooting and some ticky tack BS calls against us early that changed the flow.  But just being here, for this team, was a HUGE victory!  This game was house money, and they acquited well, for the most part.

Congrats on a GREAT season and a fantastic tunamelt run!!


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:11 AM ^

than after the Louisville loss. I truly thought we were the better team against Louisville, and that's something I never felt tonight. It's hard for me to be too upset tonight. I saw incredible effort and heart all season and that included tonight. It's just unfortunate that Michigan ran into one of the best teams of the last 10 years. Just an incredible team. I'm disappointed that fantastic ambassadors for the program in Muhammad Ali and Duncan and most likely Mo ended their careers with a loss, but they have so much to be proud of and what they accomplished.

Another thing: In 2013 I was skeptical Michigan would ever get back there. All that talent and Trey Burke having an all time season. But now I'm absolutely positive that Michigan will be back and soon. This stings for now, but Villanova was the better team and that's ok.

Always and forever, Go Blue!!!

A Lot of Milk

April 3rd, 2018 at 12:23 AM ^

I feel the same way. 2013 made me feel desperate, if we couldn't win with the player of the year and a team full of pros, how were we ever going to win? Beilein showed this year he hardly needs a team of pros to make it to the end. The difference of this team to the others was the offense was lacking. Oh, what's that? Next year's entire class is offensive firepower? How delightful


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:32 AM ^

and I have no doubt that Michigan will continue to play in massive games in March going forward. I'm disappointed that we lost, but man what a run. I had so much fun watching this team in the tourney, in the B1G Tourney, against Michigan State and seeing the progression this team made. This loss doesn't take away from the joy I experienced in watching this team play with an unbridled happiness and unlimited swag. They made big shots, made the right play in big situations, focused on defense and consistently made the extra pass that was needed to get a team mate a good shot. They were unselfish, hard working, and a pleasure to watch. Congrats to Duncan and MAAR on an incredible career. 5 years ago they were a D3 hoops commit and the 1000th rated player in the country and they became cogs on a great team. 


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:11 AM ^

Really came together and made it to the Natty.

Nova hit some shots and one guy was fire. Refs didn’t help but that seems to be the norm.

For whatever reason we never seemed like the same team that won the big 10 championship. Offensively we never found our shot. Not sure if that was escalated by playing in a dome.

However, it was a great run and everyone should be proud of this team



April 3rd, 2018 at 12:13 AM ^

Beilein was once called a shooting guru. I guess no one will be calling him that after that shooting performance. 5 out of 6 games were horrible shooting displays. But I’m still proud of my team. The future is bright. Go Blue


April 3rd, 2018 at 12:20 AM ^

Yeah because one year outweighs the 35 before it. JB is a great offensive coach, but the guys didn’t have their stroke this season. It happens.

We also played the best defense for a Michigan team, maybe in history.

The end result was an incredible run. I have no doubts or regrets about this season. We were the 2nd best team in the country this season for the 2nd time in the past 6 years. And I’ve loved every minute of it!

Go Blue in MN

April 3rd, 2018 at 12:40 AM ^

that we have some atypical Beilein players in Matthews and Simpson whose forte is not outside shooting.  I'll take the tradeoff given where it got us this year.

Maybe Coach B will figure out a way to improve the outside shooting a notch or two next year while maintaining the outstanding defense that got us to the Final Four.