Preview: Michigan at Villanova
Villanova and Michigan are ready for their national championship rematch, but most of the familiar faces from that April showdown have moved on to the professional ranks. Still, there will be excitement in the air when the eighth-ranked Wildcats host the 18th-ranked Wolverines on Wednesday as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
In last season’s NCAA Tournamen title game, the Wildcats topped the Wolverines 79-62 for their second championship in three years, but seven of the 11 players who logged over 20 minutes in that game will not be playing Wednesday. “We weren’t thinking about Wednesday coming into this game. We were thinking about Quinnipiac,” senior guard Phil Booth said after Saturday’s 33-point win. “That was our main focus. Now it’s time to get ready for Michigan.” As for the Wolverines’ returning players, that feeling of coming up empty on the biggest stage is one that will stay with them forever. “I’m still not over it,” Jordan Poole said earlier this month. “Being able to have that opportunity right there in our hands and have it separated is a feeling that you won’t forget.”
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT MICHIGAN (2-0): The Wolverines have won their first two games by 19 points and have allowed a total of 81 points in the process. Only two teams in the nation are allowing fewer points on average than Michigan, which actually trailed Holy Cross 24-18 at halftime on Saturday before outscoring the Crusaders 38-13 in the second half. Charles Matthews led the way with 20 points, while Ignas Brazdeikis notched 19 in his second career game – and the duo is averaging a combined 30.5 points so far on the young season.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (2-0): The Wildcats are getting a combined 38.5 points out of senior stars Booth and Eric Paschall thus far, while they have made 24 3-pointers as a team. Paschall, who attempted 2.5 free throws per game last season, has reached the foul line 17 times through two games, while Booth has nine assists against one turnover through two outings. Joe Cremo and Collin Gillespie each have a team-high five 3-pointers for the Wildcats, who have attempted 69 shots from behind the arc in the first two contests.
1. Villanova F Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree has registered three blocks in each game and has made 5-of-7 shots while pulling down 12 rebounds in 36 minutes.
2. Matthews only had six points in last season’s title game, missing both of his 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws.
3. Michigan G Zavier Simpson went scoreless in 28 minutes versus Holy Cross and is 1-of-7 from the field this season