IUPUI students will cover the NCAA men’s basketball championship game for a seventh consecutive year, longer than any sports journalism program in the nation. Aidan Wilkins and Mike Williams made their picks for the last night of the college basketball season.
The Villanova Wildcats will be national champions on Monday night. Fresh off hitting a Final Four record 18 3-pointers in win over Kansas, the Wildcat offensive is firing on all cylinders. Villanova has six players (Jalen Brunson, Eric Paschall, Donte DiVincenzo, Phil Booth, Omari Spellman, Mikal Bridges) that can score in double digits on any night. The Wildcats are also 14-0 on neutral courts this season, as well as 21-0 in non-conference matchups (Hint: this game falls under both categories). While Michigan has gone on a magical run dating back to the Big Ten Tournament, its 14-game winning streak will come to an end. The magic streak of Duncan Robinson’s point total of six points or more — Michigan is 29-0 when the fifth-year senior does so – will end at 29-1 as the Wildcats claim their second national title in three seasons.
Aidan Wilkins Prediction: Villanova 78, Michigan 64 | @AidanJWilkins
Michigan faces a Villanova team that is coming off a record-breaking national semifinal. They’ve been brutal from beyond the arc with 66 3-pointers and they’ve set a school record in a season with 454. Michigan has allowed just 62.9 points per game, the eighth-best average in the nation. The Wolverines protect the ball well with 9.3 turnovers a game, second-best nationally. They can shoot the ball from deep as well. Michigan will not be able to afford to shoot 29 percent in either half as the Wolverines did in the first half against Loyola Chicago. Villanova will take home its second championship in three seasons.
Mike Williams Prediction: Villanova 78, Michigan 65 | @MIkeWritesSport