No. 1 seed Virginia Cavaliers beat Texas Tech to earn programs’ first National Championship
On Monday night, the No. 1 seed University of Virginia faced the No. 3 seed Texas Tech University at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, claiming an 85-77 victory for their first National Championship.
The Virginia Cavaliers, the only No. 1 seed team to get into the Final Four, won in a dramatic and controversial fashion on Saturday night against Auburn. In the second of the two Final Four games, the Red Raiders upset Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team. Neither team had ever been to the championship prior to Monday.
Both teams were very physical on the defensive end for the entire game. Virginia is known for their control of pace and possession, with a great coach in Tony Bennett. Texas Tech was the underdog, and because it was their first time in the Final Four, they were the team most neutral viewers were rooting for.
Much of the first half was controlled by Virginia, but just as it seemed the Cavs were going to break away, Texas Tech came back and made it close again. The first half ended 32-29 with Virginia out in front. It seemed as if the second half had plenty of potential to open up and the NCAA Championship could go to either program.
In the second half, it was clear that both teams wanted to score more. Again, the Cavaliers controlled much of the second half until the Red Raiders went on an 8-0 run to get back into the game.
The Cavaliers were able to gain a four-point lead with under two minutes left, but in the next possession, Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to just one. After a jump ball, the Red Raiders were given possession and BIG-12 Player of the Year Jarrett Culver’s layup gave Texas Tech a 66-65 lead with one minute left to play.
The Red Raiders sunk two free throws, extending their lead to 68-65 with just 20 seconds remaining. The Cavaliers’ responded by sinking a three-pointer of their own to tie the game at 0:12. Culver was unsuccessful after two attempts and at the end of regulation, the game was tied at 68-68 and headed for overtime.
In OT, De’Andre Hunter hit another clutch three pointer and gave the Cavaliers a 75-73 lead. In the next possession, there was a long video review to determine the possession. After further review, the video evidence showed that it was the Cavaliers’ ball. The call was extremely vital for both teams, and it led to the Cavaliers being fouled and brought to the free throw line multiple times to end the game.
Virginia outlasted Texas Tech 85-77 to win the National Championship. This was an incredible feat after they were the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the opening round just last year. Now, head coach Tony Bennett has brought the University of Virginia their first National Championship.
This Virginia team battled all season, playing Duke and North Carolina two times each. They were the only No. 1 seed to survive, and they fought extremely hard for this title. Some negative responses may come to the Cavaliers’ victory after the way last Saturday’s game unfolded. However, the truth of the matter is that it was the right call, and it doesn’t matter anymore. Virginia is the new National Champion.
Even though Monday night’s final didn’t have the big name stars or powerhouse programs, the national championship game rarely disappoints. It was a close game through its entirety. Two programs battled for it all for the first time, and it turned out to be an instant classic.