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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 2, 2018 at 12:00 PM

It’s kind of popped up out of the blue. The Maize and Blue! But, Monday night’s National Championship showdown between the Villanova Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines is starting to look like some of the “David vs. Goliath” battles of years past.

Villanova has become a juggernaut, launching and burying treys from all over the court. Some computer systems now have the Wildcats as the highest Power Rated college basketball team ever after five straight double-digit victories in the Dance. At the very least, this team seems capable of higher “peaks” than anyone else in history because of the impact three-point shooting can have in building high margins.

Michigan is currently a 7-point underdog, which is right in the same range as Villanova against Georgetown back in the Rollie Massimino vs. John Thompson days, or as NC State with Jim Valvano against Houston’s Phi-Slamma-Jamma. The differences there are that Georgetown and Houston were seen as juggernauts all season because of star big-men, rather than “late bloomers” like Villanova who turned from excellent to historically great in March. But, you have to admit that Michigan looks a lot like those two famous underdogs.

Michigan is…

*Well coached, under a man considered by many to be the best “tournament style” coach in the nation. The Wolverines will have a game plan that will give them a chance to win. And, it will involve a lot more than hoping to get lucky with a slingshot.

*Talented offensively, with a variety of scoring weapons who can give opposing defenses headaches. Though inconsistency has been an issue of late, the Wolverines are capable of getting hot on three-pointers (as you saw vs. Texas A&M) that could match the long-range shooting of Massimino’s group that took out Georgetown.

*Aggressive defensively, in a sport where defense wins championships! You absolutely have to disrupt Villanova’s offense to have a chance to take them out. Texas Tech did that, but couldn’t score enough on their own to hang around for 40 full minutes. Michigan’s defense is as good as Texas Tech, and has a better offense.

It’s weird to think of a #3 seed as a Cinderella. But, this point spread and money line have labelled the Wolverines as a longshot. Villanova seems unbeatable after crushing Alabama and Big 12 powers West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Kansas in succession. Handicappers must decide if Villanova is going to hit a wall and fall back to earth Monday night, or if the Wildcats will finish off one of the most impressive NCAA tournament runs in the sports history.

We can’t tell you who JIM HURLEY is releasing in this much anticipated season finale. That wouldn’t be fair to paying clients. We can tell you the key categories that he and his full team of experts have been focusing on since Saturday’s semifinals ended.

*Michigan’s three-point defense. The Wolverines have done a good job of guarding the arc all season. They must do a GREAT job vs. Villanova. Kansas was too complacent in this regard, sitting back and hoping Villanova would start missing. Villanova doesn’t miss many open looks! The Wildcats were just 4 of 24 on treys vs. Texas Tech because the Red Raiders guarded the arc. Michigan must match that effort.

*Michigan’s two-point defense. This is where it gets tricky. Michigan tends to allow easy baskets inside as a side-effect of guarding the arc. They don’t want foul trouble. If opponents can work the ball inside, they will get layups or dunks. Can Michigan at least keep this factor in check enough to stay within the number?

*Villanova’s mindset. Our on-site sources are helping with this. Villanova has played with a chip on its shoulder all through the tournament. Will the Wildcats relax NOW after a stunning 18 of 40 performance on three-pointers? Have they players already decided it’s over? Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma didn’t believe it could be beat. That’s why it was beat! Patrick Ewing wasn’t afraid of Villanova. If this Villanova team loses just one step because of overconfidence, the Michigan stars that took out Michigan State and Purdue in the Big 10 tournament could certainly cut down the nets after another big upset.

Our computer simulation programs are showing one of the most volatile scenarios ever in a championship game. If Villanova continues to make three-pointers at its tournament rate, then this is a 15-20 point victory for the favorite. But, if the Wildcats cool off, or come out flat, Michigan could definitely win the game outright. Not a game you’d want to use in teasers!

How should YOU play it? You can purchase our BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about packages that take you all the way through the NBA Playoffs. Don’t forget that Major League Baseball is underway, giving us the opportunity to keep cashing tickets seven days a week all through the summer.

It’s been a fantastic tournament here at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK. Saturday didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Monday night is very likely to based on all the information coming in from our SCOUTS, our SOURCES, our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS, our TREND HISTORIANS, and our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS.

We say it before every big game. It’s more true tonight than ever. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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