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The Michigan Wolverines and Villanova Wildcats will square off for the men’s college basketball national championship Monday night in San Antonio.
But what should we expect from the capstone of this wildly unpredictable tournament?
Bleacher Report’s college basketball experts—David Gardner, David Kenyon, Kerry Miller and C.J. Moore—have offered predictions on some of the biggest questions heading into Monday. Questions such as:
—What will be the most memorable moment of the night?
—Will Omari Spellman or Moritz Wagner win the battle of the three-point-shooting centers?
—Which player in the national championship becomes the biggest NBA star?
– And, of course, who wins?
Our experts are on the case to let you know.
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press
David Gardner—follow on Twitter @byDavidGardner
Villanova. For much of the past week, I’ve frequently referred to the Villanova Wildcats as the New England Patriots of college basketball. They are so well-prepared and so efficient in their execution that it’s almost impossible to pick against them—and when they do lose, it’s because of an otherworldly performance by their opponent. Villanova will ride one more hot shooting night from three to a second national championship in three years.
David Kenyon—follow on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR
Villanova celebrates the championship thanks to its high-powered offense. Michigan isn’t at a major stylistic disadvantage, but Villanova is lethally efficient on the offensive end. Unless the Wildcats have an off night beyond the arc, they’ll win the 2018 crown.
Kerry Miller—follow on Twitter @kerrancejames
Villanova is the clear favorite and my pick to win. However, this won’t be anything like Saturday’s game, when Villanova had basically already beaten Kansas by the time the media had returned from interviewing players from the first Final Four game. This one will be a back-and-forth affair for the first 30 minutes before the Wildcats finally hit a few three-point daggers midway through the second half to open things up a bit, winning by a final score of 78-71.
C.J. Moore—follow on Twitter @CJMooreHoops
Villanova wins. The Wildcats will slow down Moe Wagner. and they just have too much offense for Michigan to keep pace.
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Jalen Brunson. Villanova’s junior floor general already has 22 minutes of title game experience. He’ll make a much larger impact than the four points and one rebound he offered as a freshman against North Carolina. He’s been stellar in this NCAA tournament run, and he’ll cap his college career with a Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award.
Mikal Bridges is by far the most talented player. He still hasn’t played particularly well in the NCAA tournament other than the second half against Alabama, but that was also the only time Villanova really needed it, too. His two-way excellence will show up Monday night.
Jalen Brunson was my preseason pick to win the Wooden Award, and he was, in fact, the best player in the country this season. There’s no reason for that to change now. He doesn’t always put up massive numbers, but no one controls the game as well as he does. And you just know he’s going to have a couple of big moments after which Twitter blows up with “How in the world is Jalen Brunson not a projected first-round pick?!” reactions.
Jalen Brunson. His numbers didn’t jump off the page against Kansas, but he controlled the game. He’ll do the same against Michigan, motivated by the knowledge that Zavier Simpson is known as a lockdown defender.