Villanova Dismantles Kansas, are Biggest Favorites Since 2010

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In Saturday's semifinal contests, Villanova made a Final-Four-record 18 three-pointers to defeat Kansas, 95-79, and MI used strong defense to end the Cinderella run of Loyola-Chicago, 69-57.

The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) had a bit more trouble against the bracket's favorite underdogs, overcoming a frightful first half to send Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean packing. That Final Four was also the last one played at the Alamodome.

And waiting for them on the other side?

MI may have a better answer than Kansas had.

Villanova has won games in a variety of ways through the NCAA Tournament. Devonte' Graham hit two 3-pointers early in the second half, but Villanova matched him shot for shot - and then added on a Spellman 3-pointer and Spellman midrange jumper to push the lead to 22. They're a great team. They combined to make 6 of 13 3-pointers themselves, but didn't get much help.

Villanova beat the Jayhhawks 95 to 79 but KU fans say they are still proud. Wolverines needed a huge second half after a bad offensive first half, that saw them down 29-22.

The memory that stands out for Duncan Robinson from playing in the 2014 NCAA Division III Final Four with Williams College was losing the championship game after Wisconsin-Whitewater made a layup in the final second.

This is a Wolverines team that is 33-7 and has won 14 straight games. The Wildcats finished with 18 made 3-pointers.

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A wild NCAA Tournament of upsets comes down to this: Villanova and its squadron of long-range shooters against MI and its ultra-stingy defense, Monday night at the Alamodome. Total fouls-Kansas 12, Villanova 14.

The 6-foot-7 junior's career-high 24 points included 4 for 5 from 3-point range.

Michigan's Moritz Wagner (13) dunks over Loyola-Chicago's Cameron Krutwig (25) during the first half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio.

Seven minutes into the game, five different Wildcats made threes as Omari Spellman was the only Villanova player with two. They can win by turning to the nation's best player, point guard Jalen Brunson; or by allowing their humble future National Basketball Association lottery pick, Mikal Bridges, to shine; or by distributing the ball to all six of the players that they believe can score 25 points on any given night.

"It was one of those nights where we were able to make shots and that's what the lead looks like", said Villanova's Jalen Brunson, who had 18 points and six assists. The Wildcats made 18 three-point shots as they shot 55.4 percent while putting six players in double figures. And this summer he was a great 3-point shooter. "We have a lot of weapons offensively, but when it comes to us staying together on defense, that's what makes it special and we're going to keep getting better and keep getting better [Sunday] and be ready for Monday".

Staring down a 10-point deficit against an underdog that seemed nothing short of blessed during the madness of March, Moe Wagner and MI clamped down on Loyola-Chicago and ended one of the most memorable NCAA Tournament runs ever. They haven't had a single digit win since edging Seton Hall in overtime on February 28, 69-68. We've got a VIllanova attack that's in contention as if not the best, then at the very least the most devastating in the modern age.

In fact, the Wildcats would hardly break a sweat throughout the game-taking a 47-32 lead into halftime. "And I honestly just tried to do my job". MI is very good at defending the three, holding teams to 32.7 percent on the season.

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