The Villanova Wildcats are NCAA national champions for the second time in three years. They got out to a slow start against the Michigan Wolverines, but once Donte DiVincenzo started to take off, the game quickly got out of hand.
What looked like a competitive, fun game for the first 10 minutes was suddenly a showcase for DiVincenzo, who ruined Michigan’s night in a big way. He was ridiculous, shooting 10-for-15 with five of seven from range, on top of five rebounds and three assists. He also hit six of his 10 free throw attempts.
Jalen Brunson, obviously the favorite to take over the game coming into it, took a backseat to DiVincenzo, who played 37 minutes on Monday. Brunson played 29, and had just nine total points, though he did have a couple steals, rebounds and assists. Mikal Bridges was second in points for the Wildcats, with 19, including going 7-for-12 shooting.
Michigan had fewer turnovers (10), but only went 3-for-23 from range, and shot 43.6 percent overall. Villanova, on the other hand, made 10 threes, and shot 47.40 percent overall.
Below, you can read our live blog of the game as it happened!
Villanova 79, Michigan 62 FINAL
Two more free throws for DiVincenzo, then a pair of turnovers — on Simpson and then DiVincenzo. Abdur-Rahkman hits a layup, but the gap is still 20 points. Abdur-Rahkman puts down another layup, and Brunson misses a pair of shots, one from three. Spellman grabs the rebound of the second one and gets the putback for Villanova. Teske dunks it for Michigan, and Watson gets a putback layup on a missed three from Livers. And this one is over!
Villanova 74, Michigan 54, 3:21 2H:
Simpson hits a layup for Michigan. Shooting foul on Paschall, but Simpson misses the free throw. DiVincenzo misses a pair of free throws after a Matthews shooting foul. Abdur-Rahkman sinks both of his free throws after a Booth shooting foul. Another foul, and this time DiVincenzo makes both of his free throws. DiVincenzo loses the ball trying to move in, but Poole misses the follow-up layup for the Wolverines. Gillespie gets the rebound, flings it to Bridges, who sinks a beautiful three for the Wildcats. Bridges draws the foul on Poole, and sinks a pair of threes, with a 19-point lead and just over five minutes to go.
Abdur-Rahkman hits a layup, then Gillespie sinks both of his free throws after a Wagner foul. Simpson hits a layup and we go to a TV timeout!
[Villanova is playing very well without Jalen Brunson which is kind of super terrifying for the rest of the country next year]— Big East Coast Bias (@becb_sbn) April 3, 2018
Villanova 62, Michigan 44, 7:48 2H:
Booth misses a three, and Matthews has a bad turnover for Michigan. Booth misses another three, Simpson gets the rebound and gets it to Matthews, who has a dunk absolutely DENIED by DiVincenzo! Brunson gets a shooting foul, and Simpson makes both of his free throws. DiVincenzo misses one of his free throws. Wagner hits a dunk, with an assist from Matthews, who then makes a layup after a Villanova turnover. Michigan picking up some momentum? Nope — DiVincenzo twists the knife with a three-point jumper. And after a Matthews miss ... DiVincenzo makes another! Wow! Wolverines timeout.
Villanova 53, Michigan 38, 11:53 2H:
DiVincenzo with a smooth pass to Bridges, who sinks a three from deep, and this one is getting out of hand for Michigan! Abdur-Rahkman sinks a step back three for Michigan, but the Wolverines are unable to stop Bridges from driving for a quick layup to mitigate the damage. After some fancy footwork, Paschall misses a jump shot, Wagner gets the rebound and gets it to Matthews, who throws down a dunk.
Villanova 48, Michigan 33, 15:24 2H:
Wagner draws a foul on Bridges, and then another on Brunson. Simpson puts Michigan back on the board with a jumper, but Brunson responds right away with one of his own for Villanova. Brunson misses a pullup jumper, but Spellman rebounds and gets the tip in for the Wildcats. Spellman and Wagner get into it after a Wagner turnover and have to be separated going into the TV timeout — they both get technicals.
Villanova 44, Michigan 30, 18:03 2H:
It’s Wagner with the first points of the second half, a short, simple layup. Brunson misses a three, but Bridges gets the rebound and the putback! A Wagner turnover leads to a beautiful three from Paschall — Brunson on the assist. Some great passing from the Wildcats — and a missed three from Robinson — leads to a Paschall reverse layup, and Michigan takes a timeout to stop the bleeding!
Villanova 37, Michigan 28, END 1ST:
DiVincenzo can’t get the layup, but on the defensive shift he manages to block the shot from Simpson, with the ball stuck between the rim and backboard! It’s a Wildcats rebound, and a Brunson three-pointer increases their lead to nine! Wildcats call a timeout with 12 seconds left to draw up one more play before the half. They can’t convert it, and we go to halftime.
Peep the DiVincenzo block:
Villanova 34, Michigan 28, 1:24 1H:
Wagner starts things off with a great pass to set up a dunk from Matthews, but Brunson assists DiVincenzo with a dunk in response! Poole misses a jumper and another big dunk, this one from Spellman assisted by — who else — DiVincenzo! Michigan calls a timeout and we get another quick TV timeout.
Villanova 30, Michigan 26, 3:59 1H:
Matthews fouled Gillespie before the break, and the Wildcat put in both of his attempts, making it a one-point game. A turnover from Matthews, followed by a miss for Bridges and a pair of missed threes from Wagner and Simpson. DiVincenzo sinks a three for Villanova, and Abdur-Rahkman responds with a layup to tie it up at 23. Two free throws from Spellman after another Poole foul gives the Wildcats back the lead. DiVincenzo is really starting to take over, sinking another three, and then a driving layup.
Michigan 21, Villanova 18, 7:32 1H:
Poole drew the foul on his layup before the break, so he had a free throw opportunity once play resumed, and he sinks it. DiVincenzo misses a three, but Villanova gets the rebound. Bridges then misses a three, and DiVincenzo gets the rebound, and draws a foul from Robinson. Spellman misses a jumper, and a good possession from Villanova ultimately results in no points.
Wagner gets the defensive rebound, finally, and makes a jumper to go up by seven. DiVincenzo sinks a two. Abdur-Rahkman commits a personal foul on a promising shift down the court. Booth gets his second personal as well, and goes off. Villanova has missed all but one of their threes at this point. We go a full two minutes without a bucket, until Bridges finally sinks one for Villanova.
Mo Wagner says hi to the Villanova defense pic.twitter.com/MZ61URzMRE— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 3, 2018
Michigan 18, Villanova 14, 11:51 1H:
Bad pass from Bridges results in a turnover at the start of play and Abdur-Rahkman sinks a three for Michigan. DiVincenzo gets Villanova back into it with a three-pointer, followed by a two from Abdur-Rahkman, followed by ... a two from DiVincenzo. They’re keeping pace after the first couple minutes looked iffy! Another TV timeout after a Poole layup.
Michigan 11, Villanova 8, 13:56 1H:
Matthews misses a pair of free throws for Michigan, but makes up for it with a huge clean block on the next shift. He got the block on Brunson’s layup attempt. Abdur-Rahkman misses a three-pointer for Michigan, and then Paschall misses one for Villanova. Wagner shows them how to do it, sinking a three of his own. Bridges sinks a jumper, and Wagner responds again with a good layup. Booth hits one too, and we go to a media timeout.
Michigan 6, Villanova 4, 18:12 1H:
Villanova kicks off the scoring with a quick and easy jump shot from Brunson. Michigan responded right away with a Wagner jump shot. Then it’s Brunson again, with a fadeaway jumper he sinks without issue. And ... get used to this, but its Wagner with two more points, off of free throws following the Spellman shooting foul. The first turnover is on Paschall, and Michigan turns it into two points.
Before the game
The Michigan Wolverines face the Villanova Wildcats in the NCAA tournament’s national championship game on Monday. Tip time is 9:20 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio. TBS will televise the game, and you can stream the action on March Madness Live.
Villanova, the No. 1 seed from the East Region, is a 6.5-point favorite. The Wildcats have been one of the top two teams in college basketball all year, and they’ve only looked stronger as the NCAA tournament has progressed. Their five wins in the tournament so far have all come by 12 points or more. They beat Kansas by 16 in a national semifinal on Monday, and they could hardly have looked more dominant in doing it.
Michigan is the No. 3 seed from the West Region. The Wolverines don’t quite have a Cinderella feel. This program was in the championship game just five years ago, and it won the Big Ten tournament this season with a deep, talented roster. But they’re a lot better now than they were early in the season, and their tournament run so far has only been possible because of a preposterous, season-saving buzzer-beater in the second round.
If Villanova wins, the Wildcats will have their second national championship in three seasons. No men’s program has won two titles in that quick succession since Florida went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007, when the Wildcats’ current players were about 10 years old. If Michigan wins, the Wolverines will add to the lone title in their history, 1989.
We’ll have updates in this space throughout the game. You can also follow the title tilt via this stream of tweets, which includes media and team accounts: