This is it college basketball fans, we have made it to the finish line. The 2018/19 men’s basketball season ends tonight (4/8) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The only question left is, will it be Texas Tech or the University of Virginia that cuts down the nets and revels in their “one shining moment”?
It certainly is not a matchup many predicted in their completed brackets (raise your hand if you had it). and it is getting panned by much in the media as perhaps the “un-sexiest” final ever. That is because we will have no Zion Williamson, Ja Morant or Tacko Fall, nor coach K, John Calipari, or Jay Wright for that matter. So, just what will we have?
Two of the best defensive teams in the nation first and foremost. The Cavaliers (55.4) and Red Raiders (59.0) entered the Final Four ranked first and third, respectively, in the country in average points allowed per game. We also have two of the best coaches in the nation. Everyone knows Virginia’s, Tony Bennett, as he has been at the top of the sport for years now, but Chris Beard is a terrific headman as well. Don’t believe me, just put him in the Google and you’ll find out.
Photo: Washington Post
Can Virginia continue its run of pulling games out of their rear end in the final seconds in unbelievable fashion? If so, perhaps karma is at work, one year removed from the Cavaliers embarrassingly, and unceremoniously losing as a #1 seed to the #16 seeded University of Maryland-Baltimore County team. The fact that they survived Purdue and Auburn the way that they did is amazing and magical and storybook.
As for Texas Tech, we’ll unless you took in the second half of ESPN’s Big Monday telecasts (Big 12 Conference games) this season, chances are this will only be your second, maybe third TTU game all season. What is amazing about the Red Raiders rise to this height is that they do not have one top 100 recruit on their entire roster. This is a testament to individual skill building, team chemistry, defensive toughness, and Beard himself. The 46 year-old former Bob Knight apprentice asks a lot of his players on and off the floor, and he has met them fully in the dedication department, according to this article.
Photo: CBS Sports
So who wins? Well, what I do know, and I am certainly not making news here, is that it will be a low scoring game. Because each team’s defense is so good, most possessions will come down to the waning seconds of the shot clock. It is in those moments that the great individual player is king, and each team has one of them. Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech and De’Andre Hunter of Virginia are not only All-Americans, they will both be drafted in the top 10 of the upcoming NBA draft. Look for them to have the ball in their hands in crunch time.
The difference in the end for me is that UVA has another “Guy” who fills the starring role as well, and Kyle Guy gives the Wahoos the ever so slight edge they will need to win the national championship. I’ll take Virginia in a rock fight 56-53.
Feature photo: Twitter.com