Surprise! The Virginia Cavaliers and Texas Tech Red Raiders are set to square off for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. Even though these weren’t the two most popular picks to reach the title game, this should be one of the best matchups in recent memory. Virginia and Texas Tech are the two best defensive teams in the country, and points will be at a premium in this one.
Virginia has been challenged in several games throughout the NCAA Tournament, but they have been able to pass the test every single time. The Cavaliers pulled off a miracle comeback victory over Auburn in the semifinals. Texas Tech has been sharp throughout the tournament, and have won every game by at least 6 points. The Red Raiders completely shut down Michigan State in earning a 61-51 win in the Final Four. Virginia is a 1.5 point favorite over Texas Tech in this game.
Culver Leading Texas Tech
Texas Tech isn’t known for their offense this season, but they do have one of the best players in the country at their disposal. Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver will be a future NBA star, and he has been carrying the load for his team. Culver leads the Red Raiders with 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, and he will need to have a big game against Virginia. The Red Raiders are averaging 72.6 points per game, but offense isn’t their calling card.
The Red Raiders are holding opponents to just 58.8 points per game this season, but they have been much better in the NCAA Tournament. Texas Tech has given up 60 points just one time so far during this run, and they have the best field goal percentage defense in the country. Forward Tariq Owens is a big reason for their defensive success, averaging 2.4 blocks per game and shutting down opponents at the rim.
Lack of Depth Could Hurt Virginia
Head coach Tony Bennett has an extremely veteran team this season, but he doesn’t have a ton of depth at his disposal. The Cavaliers played just two players off the bench in their semifinal victory, and Braxton Key provided the only two points from the reserves. Virginia leads the country in points allowed per game this season, holding opponents to just 55.5 points per game. The Cavaliers will look to slow this game down and keep this game in the 50’s to win the National Championship.
What the Cavaliers do have is a trio of veteran guards that all know how to make big shots to lead this team. Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter are averaging more than 46 points per game this season, and all three of them shoot better than 40 percent from the three-point line. Virginia just knows how to grind out close games, and these three players are a big reason why.
Texas Tech Pulls Off Upset
Virginia has been surviving all tournament long, but they are running into a team with a ton of momentum in this game. This is going to be an extremely tight game throughout, and one possession will likely decide it. Virginia is going to run out of magic on Monday night, and Texas Tech is going to win this game. Bet the Texas Tech Red Raiders +1.5 over the Virginia Cavaliers.