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Wolverines, Wildcats, Play for National Title

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The hero who sent Notre Dame to the NCAA Championship hit a second incredible straight game-winner to seal the title

Winning a national championship game is hard enough. Their last two wins have been over teams that slowed it down.

Ahead of the NCAA National Championship on Monday night police took to Twitter to remind fans the types of things that can lead to arrests, among them: setting fires, climbing lights poles/buildings, and disrupting traffic. And I've got a good friend refereeing the game on Monday night.

MI 73, Villanova 72: If no one else is going to pick the Wolverines, I will. Providence and St. John's showed the best way to discombobulate the Wildcats is through tough perimeter defense - they held VU to a combined 11-for-53 shooting from long range in their upsets.

Villanova 86, MI 70: Wildcats Wolverines.

But this team got here by the seat of its trousers.

MI is the nation's No. 3 team in defensive efficiency and has held its five NCAA Tournament opponents to an average of 58.6 points per game.

With one game left, MI could be a few good bounces away from winning it all. 14, 6, 7 and 9 seeds in the West Region, they played their first game in the Alamodome against Loyola-Chicago, only the fourth No. 11 seed to make it to the Final Four. Not exactly a murderers' row.

This is a fine model for March: survive and advance. Beilein, still without a national title, has 248 of his 799 career wins at MI. Villanova is a giant. Forward Omari Spellman and guard Phil Booth have 148 and 142 attempts, respectively, and forward Eric Paschall has 98. Jalen Brunson has been leading the team this season with 19.2 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. Mikal Bridges shoots the 3 as well as anyone and can drive to the hoop with authority.

In the second round of this Tournament, Michigan had fewer points than Houston when the clock expired, but Jordan Poole's shot nestled inside the rim. After beating the Nos. 16, 9, 5, 3 and 1.

"They can all shoot", center Moritz "Moe" Wagner said of the Wildcats. In that time, four teams have had an offensive efficiency over 125. That may be why the Wildcats barely even talk about it. "We want to win it all".

Brunson's path at Villanova has taken him to awards podiums to accept trophies as the Naismith Player of the Year and the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year.

In terms of Xs and Os, this is a compelling matchup.

Wagner scored 24 points, Charles Matthews added 17 and the Wolverines rallied to beat the Ramblers 69-57 Saturday night in the Final Four. Villanova is the best team in the country in offensive efficiency numbers, MI ranks third-best nationally on the defensive front.

Green: Michigan is playing good basketball right now but Villanova is just on another level.

MI meets Villanova in the men's basketball national championship game on Monday, and given the coaching styles of John Beilein and Jay Wright one thing is for certain. Since the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985, they are the fifth team to reach the title game with five consecutive double-digit wins, including a 95-79 liquidation of top-seeded Kansas in the second semifinal Saturday. It did not matter.

Nova has been the best team all season - they are the Warriors of college basketball - big runs and deep 3s with six scoring options. They limited the Red Raiders to 33.3 percent from the field. Some might think that it didn't matter if Kansas guarded them or not, but I can assure you that guarding teams that can shoot as well as Villanova can usually help. We will provide you with pre-game analysis, roster updates, and news as it happens live here on VAVEL.

It may not be gorgeous. This Villanova team, though, makes a habit of it. During Villanova's 10-game winning streak, they've 13 or more treys in seven of those games and been below eight just once.

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