Michigan is a substantial underdog against Villanova in the National Championship Game on Monday night. The Wolverines were listed as 6½-point underdogs against the Wildcats, and analytic predictive website FiveThirtyEight is giving Michigan a 36 percent chance of cutting down the nets.
Michigan’s shot at a title is even longer if you look at the title game predictions from ESPN’s college basketball analysts. ESPN had 25 experts make predictions for the title game. Twenty-four picked Villanova. Just one, Paul Biancardi, thought John Beilein’s team would be victorious.
“Yeah, we still keep that chip on our shoulder,” Michigan swingman Ibi Watson told Land of 10 about Villanova being favored. “A lot of people might have even thought we weren’t even going to win [the Loyola-Chicago] game. It’s been like that all year. We love it. And we’re looking to continue to build and get one more upset.”
Watson added: “I think we thrive on that. We’re used to being slighted. It’s something that fuels us. It’s something that makes us want to come out and play even harder.”
Michigan has embraced the role as an underdog before, as Scott Bell pointed out on Twitter.
Michigan is a 6.5-point underdog vs. Villanova in the national title game.
Michigan has won 3 straight games outright when entering as a dog:
— 3/4 vs. Purdue: was a 4-point dog, won by 9.
— 3/3 vs. MSU: was a 5-point dog, won by 11.
— 2/21 at PSU: was a 4-point dog, won 9.
— Scott Bell (@sbell021) April 1, 2018
The Wolverines have plenty of people they can prove wrong on college basketball’s biggest stage.