(3) Michigan vs (1) Villanova – 9:20PM ET, TBS
Nova is the best team in the country, they were my national champion pick in my “Gut Reaction” bracket as well as my final one, they are the #1 team in KenPom by over a three and a half point margin, and they have two of the ten best players in the country to me. Michigan’s defense has been solid throughout this tournament, but I can’t trust a team that needed a desperation heave to beat Houston to knock off Jay Wright and the Wildcats.
It seems impossible that Villanova will shoot as well as they did against Kansas again, so that VU defense is going to need to step up, shutting down Mo Wagner will be the key. Wagner looked tired throughout UM’s game against Loyola-Chicago on Saturday, and I think Omari Spellman’s play down low will be key to taking him out of the spotlight, and leading Villanova to their second national championship in a three-year span. With Spellman down low, and two All-American caliber players in Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges up top, there may be no stopping this Villanova team.
Against The Spread (Line currently is Villanova -7)
Over the course of the last two weekends I’ve given my against the spread predictions for every game, and while I have come out ahead so far (albeit barely) I would stay away from this game’s line. Michigan +7 feels very tempting, my composite of various online computer models says the line should be closer to Villanova -5, giving you two points of value against the Vegas line, but I still would stay away. Villanova has been on fire recently, breaking the NCAA Tournament three-point record in the first half against Kansas on Saturday. I’d like to say that their luck may have run out, but I’m not so certain when it comes to this team. If you really feel like trusting your gut and taking Michigan +7, I would hedge with the Villanova money line.
ATS Pick: Pass