NCAA Tournament Final 2019 Preview
What a Saturday night. After a few controversial call/non-calls in the Auburn-Virginia game, and an absolute stalwart defensive performance by Texas Tech over Michigan State, we have one of the more intriguing NCAA Tournament Final matches in a very long time.
Neither team has ever won a National Championship in basketball and Texas Tech has only won ONE NCAA Championship in its history, a 1993 Championship in Women’s Basketball. Virginia may have been a stalwart in the regular season but they’ve entered uncharted territory. Texas Tech has never been a powerhouse in basketball and is fully in uncharted territory.
The way each team got to this National Championship is very different. For Virginia, they hung out by the skin of their teeth, literally. After being down 62-60 to Auburn with just seconds left, the Cavaliers had one last shot to win the game. Kyle Guy took a corner three and missed, but was fouled on his way down and given three free throws. With ice in his veins, Guy hit all three and ended the game with an improbable win.
As for Texas Tech, well they won with their defense once again. Jarrett Culver didn’t have a great game on Saturday night but played good defense and hit what was pretty much a game ending three with just under one minute to go. The hero of the game was South Dakota transfer Matt Mooney, who finished the game with 22 points and lit it up from behind the three point line. That was all the offense they needed as they (more specifically Mooney) held Cassius Winston to just 16 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Texas Tech (3) vs Virginia (1)
Unlike Saturday’s matchup between Virginia and Auburn, this game is going to be between two similarly built teams. Even though Texas Tech and Virginia are defense first teams, they can score as well. Both the Red Raiders and the Cavaliers have been in the top 30 in scoring since the midpoint of the season.
The difference in this game will be whose X-factor will make a bigger difference. If Jarrett Culver plays better than he did against Michigan State and dominates the game, Texas Tech will win. If Kyle Guy, with ice in his veins can carry a rejuvenated Cavalier offense, Virginia will win.
Look for this to be a relatively low scoring game. Sure both offenses are efficient, but Texas Tech has shut down the number one offense in college basketball, the number three offense, and one of the top players in the NCAA in Cassius Winston. Virginia held the run and gun Auburn Tigers to 62 points.
It’ll still be a very entertaining game and don’t be surprised if this comes down to the last shot. If I was a betting man, I would guess that Kyle Guy will be the man with the game winning shot. Virginia will win their first National Championship and Tony Bennett and his team will have FULL redemption for their early exit last season.
Virginia 58, Texas Tech 57