Texas Tech Virginia: Game Time, Odds, Predictions for NCAA Championship.
Virginia is on the verge of the ultimate redemption. One year after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, the Cavaliers are in the NCAA tournament final. Just one year after a famous, embarrassing loss, Virginia could put it all to bed with a win over No. 3 Texas Tech in the NCAA championship final.
The Cavaliers are in the final courtesy of the ice-cold veins of Kyle Guy, who sank three free-throws with 0.6 seconds on the clock to beat No. 5 Auburn 63-62 on Saturday. The foul call—entirely warranted or completely unnecessary, depending on who you ask—will be disputed for a long time coming, but its ramifications are set in stone. Virginia got the call, and Guy did what was needed to send his team to the title game.
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
Live Stream: NCAA.com
Virginia has been a dominant force in the Atlantic Coast Conference over the past few years, with head coach Tony Bennett consistently trotting out disciplined, defensively-minded teams that can drive other squads absolutely mad. The slow, steady style of basketball has been the team’s undoing in the past, but this year it’s allowed them to carve a path to the NCAA tournament final.
Guy started off slowly in the NCAA tournament, but has come into his own in the last three games, totaling 50 points and 17 rebounds since the Sweet 16 began. Mamadi Diakite and Ty Jerome have both come through in the clutch, making important contributions down the stretch. As long as the offense is in a groove, Virginia will be tough to beat on Monday. The expert coaching, defensive acumen and tenacity will be tough for Texas Tech to handle.
As for Texas Tech, guard Matt Mooney has been the guy to believe in. In five tournament games, Mooney is averaging 13.8 points and 3.4 assists per contest while playing hard-nosed, lockdown defense.
Mooney isn’t doing it alone, of course. Jarrett Culver has been uniformly excellent, using his entire skill set to give defenses fits throughout the tournament. Culver was instrumental down the stretch against Michigan State in the semifinal, hitting this clutch three-pointer to put the game to bed, per CBS Sports:
As a unit, the Red Raiders are tough as nails. They challenge every shot and are able to pressure teams for a full 40 minutes. Virginia has plenty of experience and a brilliant coach in Bennett, but the risky pick is the one to go with in this final. Look for the Red Raiders to pull off the upset, thought it won’t be easy.