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Sunday December 15th, 2019 11:42PM

NCAA Latest: Michigan can go from unranked to undisputed

By The Associated Press
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Latest on the championship game of the NCAA Tournament (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

When the AP Top 25 preseason men's basketball poll came out, Villanova was a very respectable No. 6.

Michigan was an afterthought.

The Wolverines were unranked when this season began, and didn't even crack the Top 25 for the first time until mid-January. Michigan was 39th in the preseason poll balloting, behind seven ranked teams that wouldn't even end up making the NCAA Tournament — No. 10 USC, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 15 Minnesota, No. 16 Louisville, No. 19 Northwestern, No. 22 Saint Mary's, No. 24 Baylor.

Michigan wasn't the only big preseason poll whiff: Virginia ended the regular season ranked No. 1, and the Cavaliers were also unranked to start the season.

Only four teams in the last 50 years started the season unranked and won the NCAA title — UConn in 2011, Florida in 2006, Syracuse in 2003 and Villanova in 1985.

___

11:40 a.m.

There's a reason so much of the talk surrounding the NCAA Tournament championship game is about 3-pointers.

Villanova is commanding that by making its case as the greatest 3-point shooting team in college history.

The Wildcats set a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers against Kansas to get to the title game against Michigan on Monday night. Villanova (35-4) also has 454 3-pointers this season and 66 during the NCAA Tournament, both records.

The Wildcats use a motion offense and can shoot 3s from every position.

Michigan's goal will be to get Villanova away from the 3-point line and redirect shots. The Wolverines have been effective at both against other teams this season.

___

10:30 a.m.

College basketball's wild 2017-18 ride ends in San Antonio, where Villanova meets Michigan in the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats are playing for their second title in three years under coach Jay Wright. The Wolverines are vying for their first championship since 1989 and to make up for the one coach John Beilein lost in 2013, at least a little.

This meeting on Monday night will come down to strength against strength.

Villanova is one of the greatest 3-point shooting teams in college basketball history, breaking season and NCAA Tournament records. The Wildcats blasted Kansas in the national semifinals, hitting a record 18 from beyond the arc.

Michigan rode its defense into the title game. The Wolverines are the nation's third-most efficient team on defense and one of the best at defending the 3-point line.

___

More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
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