In this week’s edition of Assist Map Mondays, we examine the National Championship rematch which occurred this week. On Wednesday, November 14, the 18th-ranked Michigan Wolverines took down the 8th-ranked Villanova Wildcats 73-46 in Philadelphia.
While both teams have lost significant talent since their meeting in the National Championship, in which Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62, the Wolverines have had a much better start to the season. With a 5-0 record, they currently stand as KenPom’s 7th-ranked team in the country and have climbed to #9 in the AP Poll. This early-season surge has been due, in large part, to their defense, which ranks first in the country in adjusted efficiency. Villanova, on the other hand, currently sports a 2-2 record with losses to Michigan and Furman. They currently rank as KenPom’s 23rd best team and have dropped out of the AP Poll entirely. Both their offense and defense have taken significant steps back since last year, as they’ve had to adjust to several new starters and role players in their rotation.
Michigan’s defensive dominance was the story in this game, as they held the Wildcats to 14-44 from the field (31.8%) and 3-15 from beyond the three-point line (20%). Additionally, they forced 21 turnovers. In contrast, the Wolverines were able to shoot 28-55 from the field (50.9%), and had slightly better success from deep (5-17 or 29.4%). They also only committed seven turnovers themselves.
Michigan finished the dominating win with 13 assists, with six of them coming from junior point guard Zavier Simpson. Power forwards Isaiah Livers and Ignas Brazdeikis each received two of Simpson’s assists, with wings Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews benefitting from the other two. Backup point guard—sophomore Eli Brooks—also contributed three assists in his 17 minutes of action. Brooks dished out his three to Isaiah Livers, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Jordan Poole. As the two teams currently head in opposite directions, Villanova will hope to right the ship while Michigan will hope to continue their early success of the young season.