San Antonio – Michigan’s run in the NCAA Tournament came one win short of the program’s second national title as Villanova beat the Wolverines, 79-62, at the Alamodome on Monday night.
The Wildcats have now won two of the last three national titles and coach Jay Wright joins Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams as the only active coaches with multiple championships.
Here are some key takeaways from the title game:
Too many weapons
It was a tough matchup from the outset for Michigan as Villanova can attack opponents in so many ways. In Saturday’s victory over Kansas, six players scored in double figures while Eric Paschall was 10-for-11 shooting and the Wildcats buried a Final Four-record 18 triples. On Monday, with Michigan leading, 21-14, in the first half, it was sophomore Donte DiVincenzo who got it going, scoring 18 first-half points on his way to a career-high 31 on 10-for-15 shooting, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
It was DiVincenzo, not player of the year Jalen Brunson, who sparked a decisive 23-7 run to close the first half and put the Wildcats up by nine at halftime. They kept attacking in waves in the second half as Mikal Bridges got in the act, finishing with 19 points while Brunson dealt with foul trouble.
Michigan was going to have to have a nearly perfect offensive night to win its second national championship, but it never came. While Muhamad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 23 in his final game with the Wolverines and Moritz Wagner added 16, the Wolverines were just 3-for-23 from 3-point range and closed the first half making just 3-of-16 shots.
Charles Matthews, who had been so consistent throughout the NCAA Tournament, fouled out with just six points on 3-for-9 shooting while two early fouls sidetracked Duncan Robinson, who missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
Wiped out on the glass
Villanova dominated the glass, outrebounding Michigan 38-27. However, it was the 12 offensive rebounds the Wildcats grabbed that turned into 10 points and extended several possessions in the late first-half run that proved decisive.
Wagner’s seven rebounds were the most for a Wolverine while Omari Spellman grabbed 11 rebounds for the Wildcats and Paschall had eight.
It helped that DiVincenzo is the first player off the bench for the Wildcats, but they outscored the Wolverines in bench points, 35-7. What that truly highlighted, aside from how good DiVincenzo was, is the fact Michigan got almost nothing from its bench.
Michigan got three points from Jordan Poole, all in the first half, before adding buckets from Jon Teske and Ibi Watson in the final minute. Robinson’s foul trouble played a big part but getting little to no production from the bench proved to be too much for the Wolverines to overcome.