Cinderella Vanquished, NCAA Title to Be a Slugfest
Villanova is just dropping unstoppable 3-point bombs, will take on Michigan in final
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2018 5:35 AM CDT
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Loyola-Chicago guard Ben Richardson (14) fights for a rebound with Michigan guard Zavier Simpson, left, and Charles Matthews, right, during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. Michigan won 69-57.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – Michigan has shored up the deficiency that always held it back, becoming one of the nation's best defensive teams, not one of its worst. This new-found stinginess has the Wolverines within reach of their first national title since Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson rumbled through the bracket in 1989, reports the AP. But their biggest test yet comes on college basketball's brightest stage: Villanova and its squadron of long-range shooters with a national title on the line. Michigan is good on D, but if the Wildcats shot like they did against Kansas in Saturday night's Final Four nightcap, it may not matter what the Wolverines do. "I feel bad for Kansas," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "They're a great team, we just made every shot." Michigan (33-7) reached the title game by taking away Cinderella's slipper, sending Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean home a game short of completing their divine run.

Villanova bombed its way past a blueblood to get there. The Wildcats (35-4) turned a Final Four showdown with fellow No. 1 seed Kansas into a laugher, dropping in 3-pointers like they were playing pop-a-shot in the 95-79 rout. Villanova made a Final Four-record 18 3s in a record-matching 40 attempts, its second trip to the title game in three seasons never in doubt. That's an NCAA record 442 from the arc this season. "That's as good a team as we've played that I can remember," Kansas coach Bill Self said. The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) had a bit more trouble against the bracket's favorite underdogs, but now they're done playing the favorite for a night, it's back to the underdog role against Villanova. "The whole villain thing ... at the end of the day it's just basketball, you know?" Michigan big man Moe Wagner said. "And we just try to win. That's all we do."


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