Virginia vs Texas Tech

Virginia vs Texas Tech : Three weeks ago, 68 teams aspired to end the season with a national championship. After many exciting games, some upsets and numerous close finishes, the NCAA tournament has come down to this.

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On Monday night, No. 1 seed Virginia and No. 3 seed Texas Tech will play for the national championship at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The winner will earn the first national title in its program’s history.

From 2012-17, the national championship game was decided by eight or fewer points each of those seasons. Last year, Villanova beat Michigan by 17 points. However, the Cavaliers and Red Raiders should play a competitive game, and it’s more likely that this year’s game will return to having a close finish.

Bracket

Championship Game Information

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 3 Texas Tech: Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS

Championship Game Preview

Virginia and Texas Tech may be playing for the national championship this year, but these programs haven’t always been this strong. Neither has as rich a history as some of the powerhouse schools around college basketball.

For the Cavaliers, this was the first time they reached the Final Four since 1984. They had never won a national semifinal matchup, so this is their first appearance in the national championship game.

Although Virginia had some strong seasons, it mostly struggled from 1996-2011, making the NCAA tournament only three times during that stretch. And it only won one NCAA tourney game, never making it past the second round.

But when Tony Bennett took over as head coach prior to the 2009-10 season, the Cavaliers started to get back on the right track. They made the NCAA tournament in Bennett’s third year, beginning an active stretch of making it to March Madness in seven of eight seasons.

“When you come in and say, ‘This is going to happen. We’re going to be a Final Four team,’ or, ‘We’re going to win the ACC,’ you believe it, and you hope it, and then you just go to work,” Bennett told the media Monday. “That’s what it is.”

Virginia has lost only three games this season, and it lost only three games last year. Prior to that, the last three-loss season in program history was in 1924-25, in a campaign that featured only 17 games.

Texas Tech has had a similar rise to prominence. It made the NCAA tournament only once from 2006-15.

But the Red Raiders have had quick results under head coach Chris Beard. After missing the NCAA tournament in Beard’s first season in 2016-17, they made it last year. And not only that, but they made it to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

Even though the program had little success prior to Beard’s arrival—particularly in the postseason—Beard only had one motive when he arrived on Texas Tech’s campus.

“Our goal has never been to make a tournament. It’s been to win the tournament,” Beard told the media Monday. “It’s easy to talk about, and really, really hard to do. But that’s where we started this whole thing, was just trying to have the expectations and the vision where we could be relative.”

On Monday night, either Bennett or Beard will take their program to a whole new level.

Virginia vs Texas Tech

Virginia vs Texas Tech Live Stream Basketball Championship,,Texas Tech and Virginia have reached the national championship game by leaning on stingy defenses, overlooked and underappreciated stars, and no shortage of nail-biting NCAA Tournament wins.

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So, what will it take for the Red Raiders to hoist their first basketball trophy — and second NCAA title trophy in any sport? And what will it take Virginia to finally win its first hoops title?

TEXAS TECH

Simply put: There is no way that likely NBA lottery pick Jarrett Culver struggles as much as he did in the Red Raiders’ semifinal victory over Michigan State, when he committed three turnovers and was held to 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting by the defensive-minded Spartans.

That’s only the start, though.

Backcourt mate Davide Moretti, who was downright heroic in their tournament win over Gonzaga, only had five points against Michigan State. Long, lanky forward Tariq Owens missed a good chunk of the second half with a foot injury, though it appears he’ll be ready to go against the Cavaliers.

Despite all those hiccups, the Red Raiders still turned back the Big Ten champs.

Maybe they’re just a team of destiny.

“Our goal has never been to make a tournament. It’s been to win the tournament,” said Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, the coaching vagabond whose toughness and tenacity has endeared him to fans back in West Texas. “It’s easy to talk about and really, really hard to do. But that’s where we started this whole thing, just trying to have the expectations and the vision where we could be relative.”

Oh, his club is quite relative now. The Red Raiders have the nation’s No. 1 defense by almost any metric, better even than the Cavs’ vaunted pack-line D, and their offense has been so quietly efficient over the past six weeks that Beard took umbrage with the lack of attention it has received.

They also have Culver, who should be the best player on the floor Monday night.

“It means everything,” he said. “This is what you started your summer for. This is what you worked all year. Just knowing you’re the last two teams playing on Monday night is just so special.”

VIRGINIA

Yes, the Cavaliers are known for defense, but their methodical offense tends to hide the fact that they have been one of the most efficient teams in the country on that end of the floor.

Virginia rarely turns the ball over (8.9 per game, fewest in the country), has one of the best turnover-to-assist ratios in the country (1.59, fifth best) and is seventh in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (39.4).

Texas Tech’s defense is not only the best Virginia has faced this season it is one of the best in recent college basketball history, according to KenPom metrics.

“We’re going to have to be ball strong,” Virginia assistant coach Jason Williford said. “They get a ton of deflections. They take the ball out of guys’ hands.”

With Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and Kihei Clark, Virginia often has three ball-handlers on the floor. In third-team All-America wing De’Andre Hunter, the Cavaliers have another capable facilitator. That should help in the face of Tech’s grinding pressure.

And, of course, Virginia plays lock-down defense, too. This championship game seems destined to be a tight, possession-by-possession affair. The Cavaliers are built for those.

And after pulling off two straight minor miracles to get this far, it’s hard not to come away thinking: Whether it’s karma or fate or some type of divine intervention, it’s just Virginia’s year.

“Hopefully, whatever that is,” center Jack Salt said, “is still on our side.”