Michigan meets Villanova in the men’s basketball national championship game on Monday, and given the coaching styles of John Beilein and Jay Wright one thing is for certain.
Get ready for 3-pointers. Given that Villanova hit a Final Four record 18 3-pointers against Kansas on Saturday and Michigan hit 14 from three-point range in the Sweet 16 against Texas A&M, it’s a bet that this game could be a 3-point content. The team that hits – and defends – the 3-point line best will be in business.
What is the target number? First one to double-digit 3-pointers will be in good shape. Here is a breakdown why:
If Michigan hits the 3
The Wolverines hit 10 or more three-pointers in 14 games this season, including that 14 of 24 performance in a 99-72 blowout against the Aggies on 99-72. The three losses were both regular-season games against Purdue and a loss to North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten challenge.
If Michigan can’t defend the 3
Michigan is 1-2 when they allow 10 three pointers, and again, that includes the two-losses to the Boilermakers. Both of those games were entertaining, and the Wolverines made the adjustment in the Big Ten tournament by limiting the Boilermakers to 4 of 17 three-point shooting. That would be a best-case scenario against the Wildcats.
If Villanova hits the 3
Villanova is 23-2 when it hits 10 or more 3-pointers in a game. That included a record-setting effort against the Jayhawks in which the Wildcats hit 18 of 40 from 3-point range. Villanova had its off night in a 4 of 24 shooting effort against Texas Tech in the Elite Eight, but the Wildcats still won that game 71-59.
If Villanova can’t defend the 3
The Wildcats are 4-2 in games where they allowed 10 or more 3-pointers in a single game. Those losses came on Dec. 30, 2017 against Butler, who hit 15 of 22 in a 101-93 overtime thriller; and Feb. 24, 2018 against Creighton, who it 12 of 29 from 3-point range in an 89-83 shootout.
If both teams are on …
Both teams were 1-2 when they make 10 three-pointers or more and give up 10 three-pointers or more in the same game.
NCAA Tournament shooting
Michigan is 38 of 120 (31.7) from 3-point range in the tournament, but opponents are 18 of 75 (24.0) from 3-point range. Villanova is 66 of 156 (42.3) from 3-point range in the tournament and has allowed 31 of 109 (28.4) from 3-pointer range.
While the attention is on how both teams shoot, its worth knowing both teams are good at defending the 3-pointer in the tournament. The numbers still favor Villanova, and Michigan can’t afford to be completely off from 3-point range, not against a team that shot the lights out Saturday.