VILLANOVA, PA. 11/14/2018 – It was just a few months ago when these two schools met for the national championship. The teams are different, the players are different, the year is different. But the game does have an attractiveness about it even if it is not a true rematch. And Villanova did win the more meaningful game last year.
Let’s usher in the now. Michigan dominated Villanova winning 73 – 46 at the Finn.
“We are not as organized as we want to be trying to find a lineup early in the season,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “When you play a good team and you are doing that, it doesn’t look good throwing young guys in against an experienced and well coached team.”
How? The Wolverines outplayed the Wildcats in aspects of the game in which Nova has excelled. The first half was indicative as UM lead 44 – 17 at intermission. Villanova was held to 2 0f 10 shooting from beyond the arc, and shot less than 25% from the floor. The Cats made only one more three in the game. The Michigan defense created turnovers, 10 early, and parlayed that into a 15 – 0 edge in points off turnovers in the initial 20 minutes. The visitors increased the number of miscues by the hosts in the latter half. Michigan had 11 steals for the game and a 25 – 1 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We are a different team than we were last year,” said Michigan Coach John Beilein. “We will be as good as our defense is going to be this year, and we were good today. We have good individual defenders. They are good at picking you apart and finding a weakness. We didn’t have many weaknesses individually, and that was a big difference.”
The Wolverines were able to penetrate and get to the basket. The backcourt also protected the ball turning it over once in the first half and 8 for the game. UM took 38 shots from inside the arc, and had a 44 – 20 points in the paint advantage, mostly layups.
“They executed their offense and caught us off balance, we weren’t ready to handle what they were doing,” Villanova guard Phil Booth said.
Guard Charles Matthews led all scorers with 19 points, he had no three-pointers, and forward Ignas Brazdeikis tallied 18 points. UM made just over half of their shots.
Michigan, ranked #18, is 3 – 0 and will meet George Washington in Connecticut.
Forward Eric Paschall paced Nova with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Villanova connected on 14 of 44 shots.
The #8 Wildcats fall to 2 – 1 and prepare for a game against Furman on Saturday. The effort was better in the second half as each team put up 29 points. If the Nova Nation was looking for some positives, they got one from Bill Finneran. The lead donor for the renovation project said they witnessed the worst half of basketball they will ever see in this building.
Written By: Glenn Papazian