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Monday night, the Michigan women’s basketball team will match up with Villanova in the Round of 32. For the Wolverines, it’s the final hurdle to reaching the Sweet Sixteen for only the second time in program history. For the Wildcats, it’s their chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.

Michigan has rooted its identity in its defense and strong post offense with senior forwards Naz Hillmon and Emily Kiser in the paint. The Wildcats have a more motion-oriented offense, playing a 5-out shooting-heavy style with forward Maddy Siegrist leading the charge.

Ahead of the game, The Daily explores the numbers behind both Michigan and Villanova’s seasons.

Overall, Michigan’s offense plays to its strengths with Hillmon in the paint, as opposed to the more guard-focused efforts of Louisville. But the Wolverines’ guards have stepped up when necessary. With senior wing Leigha Brown back in action after being sidelined with an injury, and junior guard Maddie Nolan finding her groove behind the 3-point line, their offense has strong depth.

“She’s great at scoring the basketball, she’s great at passing the basketball, but the energy and the passion that she plays with is off the charts,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “It just makes a difference. And when she’s not playing, she does it from the sideline. But when she’s on the court, it’s just contagious.”

The Wolverines previously fell to Louisville in the early non-conference slate, struggling against the Cardinals’ outside shooters. Games against Baylor or Tennessee will be better matchups for Michigan, as they would be able to key-in down in the paint.

A key for the Wolverines entering their faceoff with the Wildcats is rebounding. Michigan just barely leads Villanova in the majority of the other categories, but the rebounding differential is substantial. With the Wildcats’ motion style of offense, they don’t have many players crashing the glass for offensive rebounds. If the Wolverines can leverage their typical level of rebounding prowess, the boards could be a deciding factor in Monday’s game.

“I’ll just say that great offensive players like (Hillmon) don’t commit to defense like she does,” Villanova coach Denise Dillon said. “… It is the rebounding factor. Shots from other players for them, (Hillmon) just finds herself in great rebounding position. … It’s not going to be a matter of stopping her, it’s just a matter of containing, contesting some shots and then getting some stops of other players, as well.”

The only area where the Wildcats outrank Michigan is in assists. Villanova’s motion-style of offense creates quick ball movement and gets everyone on the floor involved in the scoring attack. This makes defending the floor hard for opposing teams, and the Wildcats’ game plan to draw Hillmon and Kiser out of the paint to defend their guards will keep them out of rebounding position.

“I mean, it is a unique style (of offense),” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “A lot of people freak out when you have to play against it because it’s five-out, and everybody shoots, and it’s difficult to defend.”