In the final edition of the season of Assist Map, we examine the National Championship game between #1 seed and #3 seed Michigan. On Monday, April 2nd, the Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 to win their third championship and second in the last three years.
In spite of their unusually quiet overall team performance, especially by National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson (4-13 from the field), the Wildcats were able to defeat the Wolverines by 17 points, concluding their NCAA Tournament with all six games decided by double digits. Villanova finishes the year ranked #1 in adjusted offensive efficiency and #11 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Over the course of the season, the Wildcats ranked 137th in the country in assist percentage at 53.7%; however, in the championship game they only assisted on seven of their 27 made field goals (25.9%). However, they still shot 47.4% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc in the game while holding Michigan to 43.6% shooting, including 13% from beyond the arc.
In addition to his 31 points off the bench, this tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo led the team with three assists, two going to junior Mikal Bridges and the third going to freshman Omari Spellman. Interestingly, DiVincenzo utilized a lot of isolation possessions en route to his 31 points, as he only was assisted on two of his ten made shots. Junior point guard Jalen Brunson also contributed with two assists, which went to the sophomore DiVincenzo and junior forward Eric Paschall. Villanova concluded its season on a tear, in large part to its dominant offense, while its defense also was fantastic over the course of the tournament.