The Final Four is down to two teams: Villanova will play for its second national championship in three years when the Wildcats face Michigan on Monday night.
Two years after Jalen Brunson and coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats triumphed in Houston, they’ll be the favorites to do it again in the Lone Star State.
Their final obstacle is a Wolverines team currently led by German center Moe Wagner, a nightmare matchup for most opponents.
But Villanova is a 3-point shooting machine that tests the depth and defense of every opponent. The Wolverines have scrapped and clawed for most of their victories during March Madness, but that resourcefulness should be fully tested by the No. 1-seeded Wildcats.
Michigan is in the title game for the second time under coach John Beilein, who has never won a national championship. His 2013 Wolverines lost to Rick Pitino‘s Louisville Cardinals in Atlanta.
Villanova is going to play for another national championship.
Eric Paschall had 24 points, including four of the Wildcats’ record 18 3-pointers, in a 95-79 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Jalen Brunson, the AP national player of the year added 18 points, while Omari Spellman and Donte DiVincenzo each had 15.
The Wildcats set all kind of records while making all those long-range shots. They had the most made 3s in a Final Four game, and now have the most ever in a single NCAA tournament with 66 in their five games — and one more game to play. They also set the NCAA single-season record.
Villanova, the national champion two years ago when the Final Four was also in Texas, plays Michigan on Monday night.
The only time Kansas led was when Udoka Azubuike hit a jumper on the first shot of the game. The Wildcats then scored 11 straight points, including 3s by three different players in less than 90 seconds.
AP All-America guard Devonte’ Graham, the Big 12 player of the year, had 23 points for the Jayhawks. Malik Newman added 21.
Kansas won the last of its five national titles five years ago, the last time the Final Four was in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Kansas is running out of time to make a comeback in the national semifinal against Villanova.
The Jayhawks were with 71-57, the closest since the opening minute of the second half, when Malik Newman made a jumper. But they then missed their next five field goal attempts.
Villanova led 74-57, after its first free throw and a field goal, at the under-eight media timeout.
Villanova went to the free throw line for the first time with 8:48 left in the game — after the Wildcats had already made 17-of-36 3-pointers.
Jalen Brunson made 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled by Silvio De Sousa.
The Villanova Wildcats keep setting new records with all those 3-pointers they are making in the Final Four.
Their 17 3s so far against Kansas on way to a 67-47 lead are the most ever in a Final Four game. They had 13 before halftime to match the previous mark.
With four more 3s in the second half, the Wildcats have 65 in this NCAA Tournament, breaking VMI’s the previous record for a single tourney with 61 in 2011. Villanova earlier in the game broke VMI’s single-season record for 3s.
Eric Paschall has four of Villanova’s 3s so far.
Villanova has already matched the record for the most 3-pointers in a Final Four game with 13 against Kansas. And the Wildcats still have a whole half left to play in the national semifinal.
Seven different players made 3-pointers for the Wildcats as they jumped out to a 47-32 halftime lead.
Jalen Brunson, the AP national player of the year, had three 3s for Villanova as part of his game-high 13 points. Four other players had also hit multiple 3s.
Kansas had 13 total made field goals in the first half. Big 12 player of the year and AP All-America guard Devonte’ Graham led the Jayhawks with 10 points.
Those long-range shots keep going in for Villanova.
The Wolverines have made 13 3-pointers (out of 21 attempts) in the first 17 minutes against Kansas for a 43-28 lead . They came into the national semifinal only six made 3s shy of the NCAA single-season record.
Seven different players already had made 3s for Villanova. Five of those had multiple 3s, led by AP player of the eyar Jalen Brunson’s three.
The Wildcats were 4-of-24 on 3s in their East Region final, but had made 44 3-pointers in their previous three NCAA Tournament games.
Villanova now has 449 made 3s for this season, breaking the record VMI had set in 2007.
Villanova is hitting its 3-pointers in the Final Four, matching an NCAA record and jumping out to a 22-4 lead over Kansas.
The Wildcats made six 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the national semifinal game.
Those early 3s gave the Wildcats have 442 this season, matching the NCAA single-season record set by VMI in 2007.
The Wildcats started 6-of-10 from long range. Five different players made 3-pointers.
After Kansas got the first basket of the game, three different Wildcats hit from 3-point range in a span of 1:24. Jayhawks coach Bill Self called timeout at the 17:13 mark after 3s by Eric Paschall, Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman.
Villanova made only four 3-pointers in their 71-59 East Region final victory over Texas Tech, its second-lowest total of the season.
It’s time to determine which No. 1 seed — Kansas or Villanova — will play against Michigan for the national championship.
The Jayhawks and Wildcats, who both have won multiple national titles, have tipped off in the second national semifinal game. Michigan beat Loyola-Chicago 69-57 earlier in the Alamodome.
Villanova won its second NCAA championship only two years ago in Houston — which is only about a 200-mile drive along Interstate 10 from San Antonio. The Wildcats got their first title since 1985 when Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat North Carolina.
Kansas has won five national championships, but its last was 10 years ago. That was also the last time the Final Four was played in the Alamodome.
Michigan is moving on to the national championship game for the first time since 2013 after ending Loyola-Chicago’s incredible run in the NCAA Tournament.
Moe Wagner had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who overcame a 10-point deficit early in the second half to beat Loyola 69-57. Charles Matthews added 17 points.
The Ramblers, the No. 11 seed in the South Region, were in their first Final Four since 1963 — the year they were national champions.
Freshman center Cameron Krutwig had 17 points and Clayton Custer 15 for Loyola, which finished the season 32-6. That was a school record for wins.
The Wolverines (33-7) will play Villanova or Kansas — a pair of No. 1 seeds meeting in the other semifinal game Saturday night in the Alamodome — in the championship game Monday.
Michigan has won 14 games in a row after ending Loyola’s 14-game winning streak.
Loyola-Chicago is going to need some more answered prayers to have another game at the Final Four.
Moe Wagner and the Michigan Wolverines are trying to end the magical ride in the NCAA Tournament for the Ramblers and Sister Jean.
Wagner has 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who have overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half to lead 61-53 with 1:39 left in the first national semifinal game.
Marques Townes is hobbled for Loyola-Chicago after coming down awkwardly on his left knee while missing badly on a 3-point shot.
Townes was on the bench when Michigan tied the game at 47 at the 6:56 mark, though he re-entered with 6:20 left after trying to stretch it out on the bench and convincing coach Porter Moses he was OK to get back in the game.
Michigan fifth-year senior Duncan Robinson is the first player ever to score in a Division I and a Division III men’s basketball semifinal game.
And his two second-half 3-pointers in the second half could be a good sign for the Wolverines.
Michigan is 28-0 when Robinson scores six points or more. He was scoreless at half.
Before transferring to Michigan three years ago, Robinson played at Williams College in Massachusetts. He played for the Ephs in the 2014 Division III semifinals.
Michigan started the second half against Loyola-Chicago with its biggest deficit in the NCAA Tournament since falling behind 10-0 in the first 4 minutes of its first-round game against Montana.
Loyola-Chicago, the No. 11 seed from the South Region, led the Wolverines 29-22 in the Alamodome. Then the Ramblers started the second half with a three-point play to make it 32-22.
The Wolverines, the No. 3 seed in the West Region, erased their deficit against Montana and led 31-28 at halftime of that game. This was the first time they have trailed at halftime in the NCAA Tournament.
Ten of the 13 members of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s newest induction class have been introduced at halftime of Michigan’s game against Loyola Chicago at the Final Four.
The Alamodome crowd warmly welcomed the group of basketball luminaries, which includes Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Ray Allen and Tina Thompson.
Their honor was announced earlier in the day, and they’ll be enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts in September.
Even Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt joined in the cheers and applause for the honorees. From her seat two rows behind courtside, Loyola-Chicago’s 98-year-old superfan clapped the longest for Hill, Allen and Thompson, the WNBA great.
Sister Jean and the Loyola-Chicago fans are feeling pretty good at halftime, with the Ramblers leading Michigan 29-22 in the first game at the Final Four.
Donte Ingram ended the half for Loyola-Chicago by grabbing an offensive rebound and making a short jumper just before the buzzer.
The Ramblers were down by as many as eight points early after missing eight of their first 10 shots. They made eight of 14 shots after that and have three players with eight points — Aundre Jackson, Marques Townes and Cameron Krutwig.
Moe Wagner has 11 points and 11 rebounds for Michigan, which is 9-of-31 shooting (29 percent). The Wolverines are 2-of-13 on 3-pointers.
Michigan center Moe Wagner already has a double-double in the first half against Loyola-Chicago.
Wagner, the 6-foot-11 junior from Germany, had 11 points and 10 rebounds with 2:46 left in the half. He had five offensive rebounds, though the Wolverines had fallen behind 25-19.
Loyola-Chicago has finally ended its long field-goal drought at the Final Four.
The Ramblers missed eight straight shots and went 7½ minutes without a basket before Donte Ingram found Aundre Jackson for a layup inside at the 10:17 mark.
Loyola-Chicago started the game by missing nine of its first 11 shots. But Jackson got open inside, then Marques Townes hit a contested jumper over Jordan Poole at the 9:19 mark to beat the shot clock.
Michigan leads 12-10.
Loyola-Chicago is off to a bad start in the Final Four, missing eight of its first 10 shots and going more than 5 minutes without a field goal.
The Ramblers are also getting out-rebounded 12-6 and have already given up seven second-chance points less than 8 minutes into the game.
Michigan was up 12-4 at the 12:38 mark.