Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Final Add: Bridges Misses MVP by 0.01 after Nova's Dominant Title Game

Villanova's dominant national championship win was led by Mikal Bridges, who increased his Value Add Basketball ranking by 0.21 during the championship win to 10.46 above a replacement player - leaving him one-hundredth of a point per game behind West Virginia's Jevon Carter as the most valuable player in the country according to www.valueaddbasketball.com.

Meanwhile, Villanova Jalen Brunson was solid but in foul trouble during the title game and dropped just slightly from 9.87 to 9.84, still fifth best in the country. National Player of the Year voters selected Brunson as the best player in America - and it is doubtful the team-oriented Villanova would mind an argument about whether Brunson or Bridges was the best player in America of more than 4,000 players.

While Brunson is the best of the three offensively, he takes away only -0.77 points per 100 trips from opponents, while Bridges is coveted by the NBA for his -2.67 defense and Carter barely held on as the Most Valuable Player in the country through an even better -3.12 defense.

However, as great as Bridges defense is, he said during the post-game interview that he sometimes cannot stop teammate Donte DiVincenzo when they practice. DiVincenzo was voted the tournaments most outstanding player in a performance capped by an all-time finals record with 31 points off the bench against Michigan. That final performance moved him from 97th to 70th in the country despite coming off the bench as the Big East's best 6th man.

For Michigan, Moritz Wagner started hot in the championship but tired and dropped slightly from 29th to 31st in the final rating (of more than 4,000 players). His teammate Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was fantastic driving paste defenders to move up 12 spots to a final rating as the 57th best player in the country.

While that made for a great duo, no other Michigan player was in the top 250, and as predicted in our projections, they were no match for Villanova, who added the inside dominance of Omari Spellman (77th) and versatile (164th) to give Villanova five players in the top 4% of all players. The only other teams with even four players in the top 4% are Duke, Purdue, and Kansas - so with by far the top duo in the country (no other team had two even in the top 20) and the best top five, it's no wonder www.kenpom.com ranks Villanova as the second best championship team of this century behind only the 2008 Kansas team. In fact, if Memphis had hit any free throws down the stretch in 2008 to deny Kansas the title, Villanova would rate as the best champion of the 21st century.

Here are the new rankings for the Villanova and Michigan players after the championship, with Jevon Carter of West Virginia, left on the list to show how close the final was.

1Jevon Carter #2West Virginia10.47
2Mikal Bridges #25Villanova10.46
5Jalen Brunson #1Villanova9.84
31Moritz Wagner #13Michigan7.98
57Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12Michigan7.26
70Donte DiVincenzo #10Villanova7.04
77Omari Spellman #14Villanova7.01
164Eric Paschall #4Villanova5.99
275Duncan Robinson #22Michigan5.17
355Charles Matthews #1Michigan4.63
430Zavier Simpson #3Michigan4.18
440Phil Booth #5Villanova4.14
659Jon Teske #15Michigan3.30
919Jordan Poole #2Michigan2.43
1028Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree #21Villanova2.17
1053Collin Gillespie #2Villanova2.10
1236Isaiah Livers #4Michigan1.72
1882Ibi Watson #23Michigan0.76
2089Eli Brooks #55Michigan0.55
2203Austin Davis #51Michigan0.46
2327Jaaron Simmons #5Michigan0.37
2563Jermaine Samuels #23Villanova0.24
9999Tim Delaney #34Villanova0.00

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