Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-6) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (34-3)
April 8, 2019, 9:20 PM ET (U.S Bank Stadium)
National Championship Game
Line: Texas Tech Red Raiders +105 Virginia Cavaliers -125
Spread: Virginia Cavaliers -1.5
The Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated the Michigan State Spartans 61-51 as Matt Mooney went off for 22 points on 4/8 from three and 8/16 overall from the field. Jarrett Culver struggled on the offensive end of the floor with 10 points on 3-12 shooting. The defense of the Red Raiders held the Spartans to 7-24 from three and just 31.9% from the field. Texas Tech had the best field goal defense in the country limiting teams to 36.7% from the floor and held teams to 58.7 points a game which was third in the nation. The Red Raider offense showed its efficiency last time out however scoring 38 points on 30 possessions in the first half against Michigan State. Tariq Owens took an awkward fall on his ankle which limited him to 23 minutes but is listed as probable.
The Virginia Cavaliers narrowly escaped the Auburn Tigers 63-62 as Kyle Guy knocked down three free throws with 0.6 remaining. The Cavaliers have been the best defense in the country only allowing 55 points per game. Virginia is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation as well ranking fifth in the NCAA with a 39.3% shooting percentage. The Cavaliers had three players who attempted at least 100 three-point field goals and shot over 40% on the season. In each of Virginia’s three losses this season, Mamadi Diakete has been held under five rebounds and played under twenty minutes in each of those games. The Cavaliers have been led by Ty Jerome who had 13.4 points per game and 5.4 assists a game this season in addition to 4.2 rebounds a game.
Although on paper this looks to be a defensive clash but the nerves and spotlight of such a big moment for programs who have never won a national championship in basketball will surely play a big factor in this game. Texas Tech will need Culver to have a much more efficient game and Mooney to continue his hot shooting if they hope to win the national title. Virginia will need to make life difficult for Culver and the Texas Tech offense. Both teams have a big rim protector with Owens for the Red Raiders and Diakete for the Cavaliers and each team could look to draw fouls on each in order to make life easier in the paint. The Cavaliers are a more complete team and have a better offense that is far less reliant on one player and have more shot makers in addition to being a more complete offensive unit. Ty Jerome and DeAndre Hunter will have to have big offensive games for the Cavaliers and Diakete along with others need to stay out of foul trouble on the defensive end for Virginia. Look for the Cavaliers to finish strong in a tight game and pull away in the last five minutes of the game.