Just one game remains in the 2017-18 college basketball season, as Villanova and Michigan are set to battle it out in the national championship on Monday night.
The game is scheduled to start at about 9:20 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on TBS, while the Michigan-specific telecast will be on TNT and the Villanova-specific telecast will be on TruTV. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TBS, TNT & TruTV. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: TBS, TNT and TruTV are included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Note: You can also watch any tournament game on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials.
When the 68-team bracket was first revealed, many pointed to a potential Villanova vs. Virginia national championship as the ultimate battle of offense vs. defense. As it turned out, UMBC had other plans, but this still stacks up as a highly compelling contrast of strengths.
The Wildcats not only boast the top adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation, they have one of the best offenses we’ve ever seen at this level. Their 127.6 points per 100 possessions is the second-best rate since KenPom.com began tracking the number 17 seasons ago, and their 454 three-pointers made is an NCAA record, besting VMI’s 442 in 2007. And they’ve continued that blistering pace during the tournament, knocking down 66 threes (another NCAA record) in five games, including 18 against Kansas (a Final Four record).
Michigan, meanwhile, ranks third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. Highly disciplined on that end of the floor, they do a fantastic job of limiting opponents from beyond the three-point line. Teams get off just 16.1 three-point attempts per game against the Wolverines, and they make just 5.3 of those, both of which are the fifth-lowest marks in the nation.
Essentially, you have arguably the best three-point shooting team of all-time going up against one of the best three-point defensive teams in the nation. During Michigan’s 14-game winning streak, no opponent has hit more than seven threes in a game. During Villanova’s 10-game winning streak, they’ve 13 or more treys in seven of those games and been below eight just once. During the NCAA tournament, Michigan’s opponents are 18-of-75 (24.0 percent) from beyond the arc. During the NCAA tournament, Villanova is 66-of-156 (42.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
So, is the old adage of defense winning championships still true? Or does a ruthlessly efficient offense get the advantage during the pace-and-space era? It’s tough to know for sure, but Monday night’s matchup serves as the perfect one to answer those questions.
Villanova is favored by seven points, and it’s hard to argue after their thorough dismantling of Kansas in the Final Four, but Michigan’s three-point defense could potentially be the kryptonite to ‘Nova’s Superman. No matter how it plays out, you couldn’t ask for a more intriguing matchup for the season finale.