By Francis Abbamonte
Last Monday, March 2nd, The No 1 Seed Villanova Wildcats defeated the No 3 Seed Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament Championships 79-62 to capture their second title in the last three years.
The last time the Wildcats won the championship was in 2016 where former Wildcat Kris Jenkins made a three-point buzzer beater against North Carolina to capture their second title since 1985.
The last time the Wolverines made it to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament was in 2013 where they ultimately lost to the Louisville Cardinals 82-76.
Michigan has not won the NCAA championship since 1989.
This is the seventh time the Wolverines have made it this far in the tournament and hope to knock off the Wildcats for the second title in their basketball program’s history.
The wait is over. Villanova guard and College National Player of the year, Jalen Brunson face off against Michigan forward Mortiz Wagner for the NCAA Championship. Brunson and Wagner have both made big impacts for their respective teams throughout the tournament.
Michigan and Villanova went back and forth at the start of the game.
Jalen Brunson made Villanova’s first two shots. Moritz Wagner countered by making a crafty layup as well as a deep three to give Michigan the lead 9-4.
Wolverine guard Charles Matthews made his defense presence felt early by blocking Brunson’s lay-up attempt and then making a difficult lay-up against two defenders after getting a steal.
Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo came into the game off the bench and put up 8 points to narrow the gap 21-16.
DiVincenzo’s impact on the game didn’t stop there as he made back-to-back three pointers and made a difficult lay-up. Besides giving a spark off the bench, DiVincenzo was effective finding his teammates and making an emphatic block with less than one minute remaining in the first half.
Michigan could not find an answer against DiVincenzo and their offense was stagnant late first half.
Villanova began to pull away as they headed into the second half up 37- 28.
Villanova’s offense was firing on all cylinders to start the second half.
The Wildcats scored 14 points during the first 6 minutes while the Wolverines only scored 5 points.
DiVencenzo made his presence felt again in the second half when he met Michigan guard Matthews at the summit and blocked his shot.
DiVencenzo didn’t score his first points of the second half until the 9:56 minute mark.
Despite being down Michigan trimmed the deficit to 12 points with 8:47 left in the game.
DiVencenzo hit back-to-back three pointers to increase Villanova’s lead to 18.
The Wildcats biggest lead of the game was 22.
Michigan kept trying to stay in the game, but Villanova’s offense and defense was too much.
Villanova went on to defeat Michigan 79-62 and win the National Championship.
Michigan’s leading scorers were guard Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who finished with 23 points and Wagner, who scored 16 points.
Villanova’s leading scorers were forward Mikal Bridges, who scored 19 points and Donte DiVencenzo who scored 31 points while making 5 three pointers coming off of the bench.
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