San Antonio, Texas: For the first time ever, there is a super bowl football champion and an NCAA Men’s Basketball national Champion from the same city in the same year as the Villanova Wildcats defeated Michigan Wolverines in front of a packed Alamodome crowd, Monday night, 79-62, for their second championship in three seasons.
Red hot Michigan who came in to Monday night’s NCAA tournament national championship game as the hottest team in America with 13 straight wins – dominated the vast majority of the time – met their match in the Villanova Wildcats of Philadelphia. Michigan’s hot run to the title game wasn’t enough to stop the hottest shooting team in the whole tournament. On Monday night, the Wolverines ran into college basketball’s best offense — and its most complete team — before simply running out of gas in the Alamodome
At 79-62, the Wildcats 17-point margin of victory was the largest for a national title game since Duke beat the very same Wolverines program by 20 points in 1992.
Michigan could not find an answer for Villanova reserve guard, Donte DiVincenzo (nicknamed Big Ragu), who had a game of a lifetime, pouring in 31 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field. That included him going 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and 6 of 10 from the free throw line.
Fellow Wildcats guard Mikal Bridges added 19 points and Villanova hit 10 three-pointers as a team in the win.
The Wolverines simply couldn’t execute its own gameplan for most of the night, going just 3 of 23 from beyond the arc and had an awful time of it in the second half especially.
Michigan had nearly as many made field goals as they did turnovers in the second half. As a result, Villanova was able to stretch a nine-point halftime lead in to a 20-point or more advantage for large parts of the second half.
Mo Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman tried to keep the Wolverines in the game, going for 16 and 23 points respectively, but most of their damage was done in the first half.
Villanova Wildcats won all six games by double digits over this tournament run, joining Michigan State (2000), Duke (2001) and North Carolina (2009). Tonight’s victory came two nights after they set a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers, and one week after they relied more on defense in a win over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.
Villanova finished its season with a 36-4 record. Michigan ended the 2017-18 campaign with a 33-8 mark, setting a program record for wins in a season and returned to the title game for the second time since 2013. The result for Beilein and company, though, was exactly the same. Beilein and the Wolverines will however leave the 2017-18 season knowing they’ll be able to hang another Final Four banner into the Crisler Center rafters.
With the loss, Michigan has now lost twice in the national championship game in the past decade. The loss also means the Big Ten continues an 18-year drought without a national title from any team in the conference.
Michigan State’s title win in 2000 still stands as the last time a Big team cut down the nets as a national title winner.
It is also the seventh loss from a Big Ten conference team since the MSU win back in 2000. The Big Ten has seen a plethora of teams extend this drought too, as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan (twice), Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin have all failed to bring home the national title in that time span.
With a second championship in three years Villanova head coach, Jay Wright, now has three NCAA national championships to his credit – 1985, 2016 and 2018.
With Villanova bringing home the NCAA trophy, ‘City Of Champions’, Philadelphia, also now prides itself as the first city to have the NFL (football) and NCAA (college basketball) national champions in the same year. On February 4, 2018, Philadelphia Eagles defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 41–33, to win their first Super Bowl and their first NFL title since 1960.
After tonight’s end of the NCAA tournment in San Antonio, Texas, a commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to deliver recommendations from an investigation triggered by an FBI probe that led to charges last fall against assistant coaches, agents, employees of apparel companies and others.