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2018 NCAA Tournament: Championship Prediction

Michigan is going to pull the upset.

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ball rack Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Everyone and their brother is going to pick Villanova Monday and that’s understandable. ‘Nova is a very, very tough team. Jay Wright has built a magnificent program.

Before we get into our thoughts on the game, a brief segue.

Despite what some people are saying, there’s no way that Villanova is having the best five-year stretch in history.

That’s completely ridiculous.

You could take any five years from UCLA from 1967 to 1975 and that’s better. The Alcindor-era Bruins lost one game in three years. UCLA had an 88-game win streak and the Walton Gang may have been better than the Alcindor teams.

Duke’s run from 1988-1992 was also superb. The Blue Devils made the Final Four in each year, played for the title in 1990 and won it in 1991 and 1992.

Villanova’s been really good but not on that level.

Still, they’re favored and should be. But we have some concerns.

First, as we’ve said often, you don’t generally hit peak performance two games in a row. And second, Michigan’s defense is really, really good.

And third, like everyone else, John Beileien saw what the Wildcats did to Kansas Saturday.

Villanova had a freakish outburst from three point range, hitting 18-40. You can be sure the Michigan brain trust has been up late all weekend trying to figure out how to stop that.

It’s also worth mentioning that Eric Paschall shot 10-11 and 4-5 from deep.

Villanova romped in that game, with a lead of 20 more than once and ultimately winning by 16 and, as Bill Self said, his players got caught “in between” as ‘Nova spread KU out.

We just don’t see Villanova doing that well again - and there’s a reasonable chance, given Beilein’s offensive brilliance, that Michigan could be a more effective three point shooting team.

We expect it’s going to be a close game and we think that Michigan will surprise everyone and nip Villanova.

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