SOME days, you’re hot and other days you’re not. Moritz Wagner hit a few shots early, Mikal Bridges hit a few late and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored in bunches throughout. But no one, NO ONE balled out more than Donte DiVincenzo on Monday night. He helped lead a charge that saw Villanova claim their second national championship in three years, defeating Michigan 79-62.
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THE battle for the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball crown came down to a battle of strengths, with Michigan’s stellar defense faced with the task of shutting down the Wildcats bombardment of 3’s. Early signs looked good for the Wolverines as Wagner scored nine of Michigan’s first 11 points.
VILLANOVA struggled to find their mojo early on, with their offense stalling as Michigan tried to build up a lead. There was never a point in time where I thought the Wildcats were in trouble, but their struggles didn’t last long. The momentum started to swing as DiVincenzo entered the game, scoring at will and helping Villanova surge ahead.
THIS isn’t the first time that the Wildcats sixth man has taken over a game. He showcased his talents just a few games earlier against Alabama when he poured in 18 points with five treys. That was similar to what he did in the first half as his 18 points saw Nova take a healthy lead into the break. With the exception of Wagner, the Wolverines struggles to score with consistency as Villanova closed out the half on a 23-7 run.
THE nine-point lead quickly turned into a 14 point one, as the Wildcats put their foot to the floor. For the remainder of the half the game stuck to this narrative with Nova keeping up the defensive intensity, suffocating the poor Wolverines. I flagged the offensive woes that Michigan had as an Achilles heel in their game against Loyola-Chicago. Instead of showing it’s ugly head against the Ramblers, the Wolverines waited until the second half of the championship game for their offense to falter. Bad timing.
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THE win gives Villanova true elite status as a school and cements Jay Wright’s legacy as one of the best coaches in the game. He will be coveted by NBA teams after his March Madness run, but it will be hard to pry him away from Pennsylvania. Say what you will about their ‘blue blood’ status there’s no doubt that Villanova is the cream of the college basketball crop right now.
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