Villanova was No. 1 in the Week 6 AP poll in December.
Villanova will be gunning for its second NCAA men's basketball tournament championship in three years on Monday night, which would be accomplishment enough.
At the risk of jumping on board an already crowded bandwagon, I would only add that Jay Wright's team is also the pick of not one but two methods that have successfully predicted and/or screened every title game victor since 2004.
Add in the fact that Simpson and Abdur-Rahkman made two of their combined 17 field-goal attempts against Loyola-Chicago, and MI enters at a disadvantage. At any given point, potentially all five players on the court for the Wildcats can hit a 3-pointer.
Villanova 86, MI 70: Wildcats Wolverines. And with Jalen Brunson penetrating and creating, the Wildcats get their share of easy layups as well.
Michigan's defense was put to the ultimate test against a red-hot Loyola Chicago team in the national semifinal on Saturday. It's clear Loyola was underseeded, though they weren't among the nation's elite teams. All season, the Wildcats have been considered one of the most unsafe teams in the country with their 3-point shooting playing a key factor, and when seeing how effective they were in the Final Four against the Kansas Jayhawks, the Wolverines better be prepared on defense. They force teams to play down low and once their opponents get there, MI uses their size to dominate.
Villanova is commanding that by making its case as the greatest 3-point shooting team in college history.
He is far from the only weapon on the perimeter, though: Pity those who overlook redshirt junior guard Phil Booth, who was instrumental in the national title game two years ago, scoring 20 points in 25 minutes off the bench as Nova topped North Carolina.
In a few moments, we will share the Michigan Wolverines vs. Villanova Wildcats live starting lineups, in addition to the latest information that surges from the Alamodome Stadium. This success has brought them to third in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, behind only Virginia and Cincinnati.
Charles Matthews was Michigan's second-leading scorer during the regular season, but has upped his game in the NCAA Tournament. MI has recorded a (quite excellent in its own right) scoring margin of 0.17 points per trip. MI was 39th in the preseason poll balloting, behind seven ranked teams that wouldn't even end up making the NCAA Tournament - No. 10 USC, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 15 Minnesota, No. 16 Louisville, No. 19 Northwestern, No. 22 Saint Mary's, No. 24 Baylor. Nearly all of the experts are taking the Wildcats, too. The pavilion has a capacity of 20,662 spectators but it once hosted 39,000 fans for a Spurs' playoff game.
Villanova has always run good offense under Wright. The Wildcats finished 35-5 when they won the national title in 2016. Tonight's over/under points total is at 144.5 points for the complete game in San Antonio, Texas. The 3-point shooting is taken more from the National Basketball Association.
The good news for MI?
The 3-point line will undoubtedly make the difference in the game.
Mikal Bridges is that player for Villanova. If the Wildcats win, it will likely mean their shots were falling, and 7-point spread doesn't seem so large when 3's are dropping left and right.