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NCAA Championship Game Storylines

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I’m going to try and get a handful of different previews up for tonight’s game. I actually think it’s an awesome title game as we have two top-15 teams in the country. However, I’m traveling today so if blogs are late I apologize. 

Pretty simple here for this blog. What are the storylines to keep an eye on during tonight’s game.

1. Omari Spellman perimeter defense
What made Nova click defensively against Kansas is the fact Spellman was able to guard Azubuike/De Sousa one on one in the post. The one weakness to Nova’s defense is Spellman gets confused on the perimeter at times. He’ll occasionally foul or get lost at times on the perimeter. Michigan is going to run a million high ball screens with Wagner popping more than rolling. Can Spellman continue to stick with him on those?

2. Jalen Brunson’s ability to post
What makes Nova’s offense click is the fact it can invert the offense. I’ve talked about it all season, but Bruson’s ability to go in the post and put Spellman/Paschall on the perimeter is an absolute game changer. Brunson will have the ability to post Zavier Simpson, who is an excellent defender. If he’s able to get a couple shots early to fall, Michigan will have to adjust defenisvely. Against Kansas, we saw the Jayhawks double Brunson. You can’t do that due to how great of a passer he is.

3. Michigan’s guards hitting shots
Against Loyola, Michigan’s guards were actually quite terrible, especially in the first half. They’ll have looks tonight with the way Nova defends, but Michigan needs Abdur-Rahkman to attack. That’s the real key in my eyes to Michigan’s offense. The moment Abdur-Rahkman looks to attack, it opens up the pick and pop for Wagner. If Michigan gets first half Loyola, it could be a long night.

4. Villanova’s second time shooting in the dome
So that whole teams can’t shoot in a dome thing went to shit, eh? I guess that’s what happens when a team ties the record for most threes made in a Final Four game while the first half isn’t over. This Nova team is an excellent shooting team that’s no doubt. But, we also saw them shoot 16% against Texas Tech in the Elite Eight. I don’t think they shoot 16% but I also don’t think they shoot 45%. The question is what percentage are they closer to?

5. Who will make themselves more money?
It happens every year. Someone jumps a couple of spots in draft boards due to a big NCAA Tournament. Guys like Jalen Brunson and Mo Wagner raised their stock this tournament and made themselves some extra money. For the title game the guys to watch will be Donte DiVincenzo, Charles Matthews and Omari Spellman. DiVincenzo is expected to be a pro but not for another year. Matthews still has some work to do, but it wouldn’t shock me if he ends up in the NBA at some point. To me, it’s all about Spellman though. He has the chance to leave this year and get drafted. A big night tonight and Nova could have a one and done. 

6. A new way to talk about the coaches or programs
The winner of this game will be talked about differently. I truly believe Nova has been the best program in America the last five years while John Beilein is a top-10 coach in America. However, casual fans still make claims against them because people remember Nova losing to NC State, Wisconsin or UConn. The casual fan wants to say Beilein doesn’t have a title so he can’t be top-10. Those are both incorrect statements. But, a win tonight and those lazy takes go out the window.