Thoughts on the 2018 National Championship Game
April 3, 2018
by Alan Lu
Villanova and Michigan played against each other in the 2018 National Championship game on Monday, and while the Villanova Wildcats were expected to win, they did so handily, as Donte DiVincenzo’s strong shooting and scoring prowess, combined with his solid defensive play combined with Villanova’s ability to make threes enabled them to get a double-digit victory over Michigan. Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.
Villanova’s 6-5 redshirt sophomore guard, Donte DiVincenzo had a terrific showing, as he scored 31 points and made 5 threes off the bench to help lead his team to cruise to a win over Michigan. He also had three assists and two blocks, as he played very well in this game. DiVincenzo did a great job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team. He really excelled at making threes from beyond the arc, as he did so off the catch, dribble, and he also ran off of a screen to knock one down. He can also make threes from well beyond range. Plus, he also used a nifty pump fake to score on a long two-point shot off the dribble.
Plus, he also exhibited a very good ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop. He showed a knack for scoring on left handed drives, as he was able to draw extra free throws on a couple of plays after getting scores around the basket. Also, DiVincenzo is a fairly agile player, as he dribbled off of a screen, and he managed to split a double team using a quick behind the back dribble move, as he proceed to draw free throws on a strong move to the hoop. DiVincenzo also managed to throw down an emphatic two-handed dunk after making a quick backdoor cut to the hoop, and in general, he did a great job of scoring the basketball.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. He showed off deft passing and ball handling skills early on, but late in the game, DiVincenzo started to get sloppy with his passes, which led him to commit more turnovers than he should have. He did show a good ability to throw interior passes, and he also can find open teammates out on the break to set up scores for them. However, he can be careless with his passes, as he may be inaccurate on some of his throws, which can lead him to get intercepted or to throw balls away. Another time, he once lost the ball on a drive as he attempted a fancy behind the back dribble move on one offensive possession.
Plus, he also was able to help out on the boards, as he was able to get multiple rebounds on both ends of the floor. Also, DiVincenzo played solid defense. He did a great job of blocking shots to help his team protect the paint, as he tended to make good rotations, and he has the leaping ability, agility, and timing to swat shots. He also managed to get his hands on a pass to obtain a steal, and he would contest threes and shots on drives to force misses. However, sometimes he would commit fouls on opponents’ drives to the hoop.
In general, Donte DiVincenzo played a solid all-around game, and he did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball to help his team win the National Championship this year. He also excelled as a defender when he was on the court. Clearly, this was his best game of the season, and DiVincenzo is a skilled, talented basketball player that has a high basketball IQ, as he could potentially end up being a first round pick in 2018.
Villanova’s junior swingman, Mikal Bridges also played well in this game, as he excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor to help his team get a double-digit win over Michigan in the 2018 National Championship game. Bridges did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to effectively space the floor for his team. He showed a knack for making mid-range jumpers, as well as making quick threes in transition.
Plus, he also showed a good ability to get scores off the dribble. He managed to score on a patient, left-handed drive after dribbling off of a screen, and he also drew a non-shooting foul when taking it to the rim another time. Bridges also managed to score on a put back once after grabbing an offensive board. He also took a fadeaway jumper when posting up, but he missed on that occasion.
He also displayed average at best playmaking skills. Bridges didn’t seem to look to pass often, but when he would, he would find an open shooter every once in a while. But he did tend to be inaccurate on his passes, as he ended up getting intercepted on them a couple of times. Also, he managed to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to score once on a put back in this game.
Defensively, he looked to be average at best. For the positives, Bridges was able to obtain a steal, and he also contested a three to force a miss. He almost blocked a shot on a drive, but it didn’t count as his teammate had committed a blocking foul earlier on that play. However, Bridges tended to get beat off the dribble, as he would tend to give up scores to his opponents, and another time, he ended up fouling his man. He also committed a foul off the ball when attempting to defend a bigger player in the post. In summary, Mikal Bridges put forth a good performance, as his ability to shoot and score the basketball was instrumental in helping his team win the title against Michigan. He has played well all season long, and he will likely project to be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
Michigan’s 6-11 junior big man, Moritz Wagner started off playing really well, and he still had a good game, but he cooled off late in the first half as well as towards the end of the contest, as his team ended up losing to Villanova. Still, he showed off some impressive skills, as he was able to score the basketball in a variety of ways.
Wagner did a very good job of getting scores in the post. He is an agile big man that possesses good footwork, strength, and shooting touch. On one play, he used a pump fake to score on a step-through move, and he also scored another time after using a drop step. Plus, he excelled at scoring on off-ball motion plays, as he threw down an emphatic dunk off of a cut, and he also scored in traffic off of a roll to the rim.
Also, Wagner did a good job of scoring on drives to the basket, as he has good footwork and first step to the hoop, and he can draw plenty of free throws upon the opposition. He also managed to score on a quick, left-handed drive once. He also made a deep three from beyond the arc, but Wagner struggled to consistently knock down jumpers in this game.
However, he displayed average playmaking skills at best against Villanova. Wagner did throw one good pass from the high post, as he used a pump fake prior to finding the cutter to notch an assist. However, he also committed too many turnovers due to carelessness, as he traveled while handling the ball once, and he also committed a charging foul off of a drive.
He didn’t grab as many rebounds as he could have, but he would crash the defensive glass to help his team get some boards. On the other hand, Wagner did not play great defense in this game. For a positive, he was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss. However, he would tend to overplay opponents on drives as he would get beat, which would cause his team to commit fouls and allow scores.
In summary, Moritz Wagner had a terrific NCAA tournament this year, and he also had a good game against Villanova, though he also struggled at times in this match, particularly with turnovers and with his position defense. Wagner is a highly skilled big man that can really score the basketball, and he has shown a good feel for the game. On the other hand, he will still need to improve his rebounding and position defense. Still with his skill set, he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.
Villanova’s junior point guard, Jalen Brunson did not have a great game against Michigan, but he has had an excellent season overall. On offense, Brunson showed a good ability to get scores in the post as well as off the dribble. He struggled more to make jumpers, but he was able to make a deep three once. He also displayed average at best playmaking skills against Michigan. He can find teammates on the move, as he was able to hit the cutter to notch one assist, and he found a teammate on a pick and pop play to notch another. However, he committed a charging foul on a drive once, and he also dribbled around too long which led to a shot clock violation, as this was due to carelessness.
However, he did not seem to play very well defensively. For the positives, Brunson helped poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also jumped a pass to force another turnover. On the other hand, he really struggled with his position defense, as he also ended up in foul trouble. His lack of size made it tough for him to contest three-point shots or shots off the dribble, and he would tend to commit touch fouls when defending drives. He also got beat off the dribble on a hesitation move, which led him to allow a score, and he also committed a blocking foul another time.
In summary, though this was not Jalen Brunson’s best game, he has played really well for his team all season long, as evidenced by him winning the Naismith men’s college player of the year this season. He is a smart, skilled basketball player that can reliably run a team at the point, as he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first round on draft day.
Villanova’s 6-9 redshirt freshman center, Omari Spellman also did not have a great game, but he was able to make some good plays at times to help his team get the win over Michigan. Spellman struggled to consistently make shots from the field, but he did excel at scoring on hustle plays. He managed to throw down a powerful dunk after being left open underneath the hoop, and he showed a knack for scoring off of offensive rebounds. He scored on a tip in, and he also scored on a jump hook after pivoting off of an offensive board. Plus, he also drew free throws after rolling hard to the hoop once.
On the other hand, he struggled to knock down jumpers in this game, and he also missed a dunk attempt as he threw it down too hard, causing him to miss it off the back iron. He also showed off average at best playmaking skills. Spellman did manage to drive hard to the basket once, as he kicked it out to a shooter to set up a scoring chance once. However, he was called for setting a moving screen on offense, which led him to commit an offensive foul and turnover on that play.
In this game, Spellman rebounded the ball well and played good defense. He was active at crashing the glass, as he would haul in many boards on both ends of the floor. He also would actively contest shots to force misses from all over the floor, and he even managed to stay in front of a quick guard on a drive to force a traveling violation. Plus, he also poked a ball out of bounds to almost get a steal. But every once in a while, he would be undisciplined on defense, which would cause him to commit a foul or allow a score on occasion.
In summary, Omari Spellman did not have his best game, but he had a good NCAA tournament overall, as he has had some really good games recently. He is an athletic, skilled big man that can shoot the basketball, and he also has shown some rim protection skills. Overall, he has had a solid season this year, and he could be a good pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range on draft day.
For Michigan’s 6-6 swingman Charles Matthews, this game was a mixed bag for him. He played very well on defense, but he also struggled considerably on offense, as he had trouble consistently getting all the way to the hoop off the dribble, and he most notably struggled with his jumper as well as with turnovers. Matthews showed a decent ability to score on off-ball motion plays. He managed to throw down a dunk off of a cut, but he did have his shot blocked when rolling to the rim another time.
He didn’t look to score on drives nearly as often, as Villanova did a good job of cutting off penetration to prevent him from getting as many scoring chances to do so, but Matthews did do a good job when he would elect to take it to the rim. Matthews managed to score on an emphatic dunk from a baseline drive once, and he also would draw free throws upon his opponents. However, he also ended up missing all of his free throws in his team’s loss to Villanova.
He also managed to score on a fast break drive, but he did have his shot blocked on a separate play in transition. However, Matthews had trouble knocking down jumpers, as he was unable to make shots from outside the paint area against Villanova. He also tended to commit too many turnovers in this game. Matthews did find a teammate on a cut to notch one assist. But he committed a traveling violation after pivoting off of a drive another time, he threw a weak pass that ended up getting intercepted, and he had a ball poked off of him while handling it to commit an abundance of turnovers.
Plus, he also tended to commit fouls when going for rebounds. Matthews did play solid defense. He excelled at blocking shots on drives, as he is an athletic swingman that has good leaping skills, agility, and timing to do so. He would also intercept passes to get steals, and he also would contest threes to force misses. But there was one play where he ended up getting beat off the dribble, as he ended up committing a reach-in foul on that occasion. In summary, Charles Matthews did not have his best game, but he did play good defense when he was on the floor. Overall, he had a very good NCAA tournament, and if he decides to stay in school, he could build momentum to end up being a potential first round pick in 2019.
Michigan’s 6-4 senior guard, Muhammad Abdur-Rahkman had a very good game in his team’s loss to Villanova, as he ended up scoring 23 points in the 2018 National Championship game. Abdur-Rahkman did a very good job of scoring on drives to the hoop, as he has a solid first step to the hoop, and he has the strength and body control to regularly get scores and free throws for his team. He also showed off some shooting skills, as on one play, he used a crossover and a step back move to knock down a pull-up three, though he struggled to knock down jumpers consistently in this game.
However, he did not really stand out in the other areas. Abdur-Rahkman would kick it out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them. But defensively, he had some trouble defending opponents off the dribble, and he would also give his man too much space to shoot, causing his team to allow three-point baskets to the opposition. Overall, Abdur-Rahkman had a good showing in his team’s loss to Villanova, and he is an energetic player that will compete on both ends of the court, as he could end up findig his way onto an NBA summer league roster this year.