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The Morning Dish – Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018 The Morning Dish No Comments

Just one game remains in this college basketball season. It’s been a wild ride to this point through so much of the season, and the NCAA Tournament has been very much a part of that. Is there one more left?

Everything to this point has said that this weekend should be one. It hasn’t been just yet, and it might not be, but we’ve had that all season long.

What would that look like? Well, it could certainly be a back-and-forth game, a bit like Michigan’s semifinal win over Loyola-Chicago on Saturday. It could look like an overtime game, possibly multiple extra sessions. It could be a buzzer-beater, not unlike what happened in the women’s championship game on Sunday night (and for that matter, in the semifinal win by the eventual champions there as well).

It could even look like a Michigan victory.

To be sure, this game could be a great one. Both teams are very good offensively and underrated defensively. Villanova is looking like the team they were two years ago that went on an amazing run through the NCAA Tournament, although they had to beat the buzzer to win the national title. Michigan is playing as well as anyone, running through the Big Ten Tournament in fine fashion before winning their way to this game.

John Beilein is well-known for what his teams do offensively. He’s done it everywhere he has been, with the only difference being how much talent he has had at his disposal. He’s an underrated defensive coach, especially at Michigan. He has a better team than many realized all year long, and there are understandable reasons why this team was a bit under the radar. The Big Ten was down this year, the Wolverines didn’t have a non-conference run full of great wins, and they didn’t play their best basketball until the end of the season starting a little before the Big Ten Tournament.

Beating Villanova will be a little different challenge, however. It can be done, but the Wolverines will have to do a lot of what they did Saturday night, and a little better. The offense can’t have an off-night to go with it, though. Simply put, for them to beat Villanova, they will have to beat the Wildcats in pretty much all phases of the game. Villanova is hardly unbeatable – the Wildcats have lost four games this season – but they are playing on another level from all year long at this point.

It’s for that reason the Wildcats are favored to cut down the nets for the second time in three years. We talk about all of this and more on College Basketball Tonight as well.

 

Side Dishes

Ahead of the national title game, Villanova junior guard Jalen Brunson took home three national Player of the Year awards on Sunday. He won the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy for national Player of the Year as voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and the NABC National Player of the Year award as well. This all comes just a couple of days after he won the Oscar Robertson Trophy for the same award as voted on by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Cincinnati junior Jacob Evans will declare for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent at first, although that could change as Evans is projected as a potential first round draft pick. Should the 6’6″ guard stay in the draft, it would lower the ceiling for the Bearcats next season, although they will bring back some experience and will still have Mick Cronin on the bench, which is important.

In recent weeks, Gonzaga has engaged in discussions with the Mountain West Conference about possibly joining, but for now at least, it looks like they will remain in the West Coast Conference. CBS Sports reported that the school was in a short window on deciding whether or not to join for the 2018-19 season, and the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Sunday about the likelihood that they are staying put for now. The West Coast Conference recently announced major changes to its scheduling philosophy and conference tournament, which is all geared towards keeping Gonzaga in the conference at the expense of a regular season conference schedule that makes sense (with ten teams, playing each team twice for a true round robin makes for an easy 18-game conference schedule).

 

Tonight’s Menu

The national championship game will cap off this season with Michigan taking on Villanova, a 9:20 p.m. tip on TBS.

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College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
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"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
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Review on Hoopville coming soon!

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