Saturday was a mixed bag for us here at BotC, as the scrappy Loyola Ramblers saw their dream end at the hands of a bunch of skunkbears — but immediately thereafter the hated Jayhawks were struck down by the might of Philadelphia Threedom.
Tonight, the college basketball season comes to an end, and darkness descends on us all until August. Unless you really like track and field.
The Game: The 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Game, in which the 3rd seed from the West, the Michigan Wolverines (33-7, 13-5 Big 10), clashes with the top seed from the East, the Villanova Wildcats (35-4, 14-4 Big East).
Michigan has faced Villanova once before in the NCAA Tournament: a 59-55 Wildcats win back in 1985, which was a stepping stone toward Villanova’s first national championship. They’ve met two other times; a Michigan win in 1970 and a Villanova victory in 2014 at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.
This is officially Michigan’s fifth appearance in the championship game, losing to UCLA in 1965 and Indiana in 1976 before beating Seton Hall in 1989. They also lost to Louisville in 2013. Of course, there were two other appearances which no longer officially exist: back-to-back losses in 1992 and 1993 to, respectively, Duke and North Carolina.
It’s officially the third appearance for Villanova, who beat Georgetown in 1985 and North Carolina in 2016. The Wildcats have also had a title game appearance erased due to perfidy; in 1971 they, like Michigan, fell to UCLA.
Tipoff: 8:20pm CT at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas.
Odds: This is a big spread for a title game. Villanova is a 6-point favorite tonight, with the over at 145. That adds up to around 75-69 in the eyes of Vegas. OddsShark projects a 74-69 Villanova win.
TV: The primary broadcast will be on TBS with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, and Tracy Wolfson. Each team, however, will have a dedicated TeamCast as well, staffed by broadcasters with ties to each program:
Michigan: TNT with Matt Park, Jay Feely, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Villanova: TruTV with Scott Graham, Randy Foye, and Kacie McDonnell.
Radio: Westwood One Radio Network with Kevin Kugler, Clark Kellogg, John Thompson, and Jim Gray. Bill Walton will poke his head in at halftime and post-game. Each team’s radio flagship will also carry the game.