Six biggest takeaways from Saturday's Final Four games

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines must play their best and receive some luck to prevent Villanova from capturing its second championship in three years. The Wildcats made 18 three-point shots as they shot 55.4 percent while putting six players in double figures.

The Wildcats set a Final Four record for 3-pointers made in a game en route to a 95-79 win over Kansas and a spot in Monday's national championship game against MI.

For about 30 minutes inside a subdued Alamodome locker room, the Jayhawks sat stunned, searching for answers to questions from a few dozen reporters, majority inquiries about Villanova's record-setting 3-point night and how - and when - the Jayhawks would put their 31-8 season in proper perspective.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports officials say the two Final Four games drew an average of 13.4 million viewers across the cable networks and primary streaming app where it aired.

All seven Villanova players who logged more than five minutes made at least one 3-pointer, and six made two or more.

AP All-America guard Devonte' Graham, the Big 12 player of the year, had 23 points for the Jayhawks.

"They were so efficient offensively and picked up so many things that we were teaching offensively, that I thought it might be really tough to get them to be a good defensive team", Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

MI will play No. 1 seed Villanova for its first NCAA title since 1989 on Monday night at the Alamodome. "And I honestly just tried to do my job". Instead it will have to settle with being the lowest seed to reach the Final Four, tying the Ramblers with LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011). Brunson scored 13 points in the first half with Spellman and Paschall adding eight each, and Spellman contributing nine rebounds.

Much earlier, at about the 13-minute mark of the first half, Collin Gillespie spotted up and swished for 'Nova's sixth 3 of the game, which gave it the NCAA record for 3s in a season, with 442.

"That happens sometimes when you're a good shooting team and you start that way", Wright said.


"We have confidence to take some 3s, but even if we miss we don't worry about that", junior Mikal Bridges said last week.

Photo Villanova guard Jalen Brunson driving past Kansas guard Malik Newman in the second half.

With all that in mind, Villanova is laying 6.5 points, the largest line for a championship game since the Duke Blue Devils were favored to beat up on the Butler Bulldogs.

While Watson and his teammates were meeting with media and picking the bones out of a victory over the Ramblers in the first national semifinal at the Alamodome, Villanova was zooming out to a 22-4 lead over the Midwest's top seed, Kansas.

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.

Whether you're in the stands or on the court, the Kansas-Villanova game Saturday night won't be one for the faint of heart. MI is very good at defending the three, holding teams to 32.7 percent on the season.

"Tonight, just playing with my brothers is a blessing, and we get another chance", Paschall said.

Before it dominated Kansas in the semifinal, Villanova experienced a tournament run that required varying styles of play. "We got spread out on defense". They're going to shoot 3-pointers, and more often than not, they're going to make 3-pointers. Beilein said. "But the whole idea is these kids have played well, played together, just like that team". "They can do everything, moving off the ball, coming off ball screens".

The last time Villanova was in the Final Four, it shot 61.1 percent from 3-point range and beat Oklahoma by 44.

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