Championship game was anything but boring
After what was billed as a low-scoring snoozefest, Virginia and Texas Tech put on a show in the national title game.
The running joke of this year’s NCAA championship game goes like this: First one to score 50 wins. The finalists feature teams that play tough, relentless suffocating defense in Virginia and Texas Tech, so scoring would be at a premium.
College basketball fans received more than what they bargained for from both teams. Not only did both teams break 50 points, but overtime took place in the title game for the first time since 2008.
In the end, the Virginia Cavaliers won the national championship by beating the Texas Tech Raiders 85-77 Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Cavaliers capped off a 15-4 run in overtime after falling behind 73-70 with three minutes to go.
Don’t call this the best championship game ever. Let’s not get carried away with the moment since it comes nowhere close to the 2016 title game, which Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beater 3-pointer spurring Villanova to a 77-74 victory over North Carolina after Marcus Paige hit a game-tying 3-pointer. It does not match any of the championship game from the 80s.
It was an entertaining game that had people engaged despite Texas Tech taking a 3-2 lead four minutes into the game and both teams combined for 2-of-12 on the field to start the game.
So many lead changes. So many runs. So many comebacks.
Most championship games result into dull ones with semifinals being the de facto national championship games, so this championship game turned out to be a shining moment of what was an entertaining March Madness.
Both teams exhibited why they deserved to be national champions. They hit shots, and they played tough defense under pressure. Both teams rallied under huge deficits.
Considering the national championship game is expensive, fans got their money’s worth They were entertained, which is what they can ask for.
This game showed everything about the Cavaliers’ resolve and mettle When Texas Tech appeared to finish the first half with a lead, they finished strong with De’Andre Hunter making a jump shot and Ty Jerome hitting a 3-pointer to give them a 32-29 lead. Just when it appeared Texas Tech was 12 seconds away from being the national champions, Hunter striked a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. When Matt Mooney gave Texas Tech a 73-70 lead in overtime on his 3-pointer, the Cavs went on a 9-0 run to put the the Red Raiders away for good.
The Cavs know a thing about comebacks. They came back from a 14-point deficit to beat Gardner-Webb and avoid losing to the No.16 seed for the second year in a row. On the brink of elimination in the Elite Eight, Mamadi Diakite’s shot sent the game to overtime, and they advanced to the Final Four by beating Purdue 80-75. In the Final Four, Virginia avoided the loss by Kyle Guy shooting a 3 and then making all three free throws on a questionable foul called on Auburn.
Being the first team ever to lose to a No. 16 seed last season motivated Virginia since the offseason. When everyone reminded them of last year, the Cavaliers used it as a fuel everyday to be better players and better individuals. It couldn’t be easy, but they did not hide away from it. Virginia coach Tony Bennett prepared them well to handle all of this scrutiny.
The Cavaliers earned the right to be the national champions for what they endured and how they handled all of it. While everyone fawned over Texas Tech and deservedly so, Virginia was the people’s choice to win it all after enduring so many failures in recent years. All of this prepared them to handle adversity in the tournament.
They had more to lose than gain Monday night. If they did not finish the job of winning the national championship, all of this good work by them in the tournament would be wasted. They knew it, too, and maybe that was the secret to their success. The fear of failure spurred them to make sure they did not experience the same moment like last year.
Say good-bye to mentioning Virginia being on the wrong side of the history.
Say adios to Kyle Guy’s agony in his avatar.
Say hello to Guy’s euphoria in his avatar.
Salutations to Virginia being the national champions.
Redemption, national title game, clutch plays and in-game adversity made this all worth it for Virginia.
It also added up to what was a great game no one will forget anytime soon, especially in Charlottesville.