Michigan Basketball set to face Villanova in the Sweet 16

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Michigan basketball heads to San Antonio for their Sweet 16 matchup against Villanova in the 2018 National Championship Game rematch.

Thursday, March 24. 479. VILL -5. 7:29 PM ET. 0. 0. 485. TBS

Michigan Basketball’s scouting Report on the Villanova Wildcats.

Villanova has the experience and is battled tested heading into the Sweet 16. They come into Thursday’s matchup, having won 12 out of their last 13 games. The Wildcats are coming off a victory over Ohio State 71-61 in the Round of 32.

Villanova is led by senior point guard Collin Gillespie. He plays just under 34 minutes a game on average while averaging 16 points per game.

The Wildcats are probably the most fundamentally sound team left in the NCAA Tournament. They defend extremely well, giving teams fits and causing frustration. But they also don’t turn the ball over a lot, either. Head coach of the Wildcats, Jay Wright, has done an outstanding job since taking over in 2002.

Where the Wildcats lack in this matchup with the Wolverines is size. Comparing Hunter Dickinson, who is 7-foot-1, to Villanova’s center Eric Dixon who is 6-foot-8, might give Michigan a true advantage down low in the paint. The Maize and Blue had this same advantage against Colorado State and Tennesee to get to this point.

How Michigan Basketball and Villanova Basketball will try to advance to the Elite Eight

Michigan’s game plan should be very similar to the plan against Tennesee in the Round of 32, getting Hunter Dickinson in the paint, either in the post or down low.

If Dickinson can establish himself in the paint as he has so far in the NCAA Tournament, it opens up other Wolverines like Eli Brooks and Moussa Diabate to be open from beyond the arch.

Villanova will try to defend Dickinson to the best of its ability and hope other Wolverines struggle to make shots from three, which has happened throughout the season, causing many of Michigan’s bad losses.

On offense for the Wildcats, they will spread the floor and take their shots. The Wildcats shoot an average of 26 three-pointers a game; Michigan only shoots 18.5. The Wildcats have multiple shooters, and as Wolverine fans know too well, once they get hot, they stay hot.

This game is going to be a battle of who defends beyond the arch the best. Villanova will try to defend Hunter Dickinson as well as they can without completely giving up the three-point line. The Wildcats have had some very good defensive games holding Butler to 42 points and DePaul to 43 points.

As for the Michigan basketball on the defensive side of things, they will let Dickinson defend on his own down low as to not give up the three-point line to the many shooters for Villanova. The Wildcats have had scoring woes in the past, though, this season against Baylor, they only scored 36 points in the loss.

The winner of Villanova-Michigan will move onto the Elite Eight and face the winner of Arizona-Houston, which will be played on Thursday as well.

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The Wolverines are looking to advance to the Elite Eight for the second straight season, but it’ll be a tough battle to get there. Tip-off against Villanova is at 7:29 PM ET on Thursday night.