The Michigan Wolverines are a quality basketball team. They’re well-coached, play stingy defense, and feature balanced scoring. They won the Big Ten Tournament last month and have stormed through some solid opponents in recent weeks on the way to the NCAA Tournament final.
But despite all that, just about no one is giving John Beilein’s team a chance against Villanova on Monday night. Here’s a rundown of predictions from “experts” at national publications:
- All six CBS Sports experts have Villanova.
- So do all four of SI.com’s prognosticators.
- And all four of Bleacher Report’s writers.
- Sporting News is behind the Wildcats as well.
- On ESPN.com, 24 out of 25 forecasters picked Villanova. Recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi was the lone exception.
Overall, that makes 39 out of a possible 40 predictors going with the Wildcats. That is what you might call “consensus.”
Here’s how you know things are bleak for the Wolverines: Even their hometown papers, whom you might expect to harbor a little bias, are pretty confident in Villanova. Three out of four predictors from the Detroit Free Press have the Wildcats, as do all three writers at the Detroit News. The Michigan Daily doesn’t seem to have published predictions, but if they had, we can only imagine they would have favored Villanova.
None of this is that surprising given that Villanova is a No. 1 seed, has won by double-digits in each NCAA Tournament outing, and made Kansas look like a jayvee squad Saturday. But it’s still a bit jarring to see a solid No. 3 seed like Michigan completely written off. For what it’s worth, most sportsbooks seem to have Villanova favored by seven points, which is a substantial margin but certainly not a laughable one.
We’ll find out soon enough whether the masses are right on this one. If Michigan winds up pulling off the upset, our friend Fred at @OldTakesExposed will have himself a busy night.