National Championship Preview: Texas Tech vs Virginia

Texas Tech has fought to become a part of the fight. Now the Red Raiders look to win it all.

The Red Raiders (31-6) and Virginia (34-3) will play in the 2019 NCAA championship game at 8:20 p.m. on Monday at the U.S. Bank Stadium for the national championship. Tech will compete to become only the second team from the state of Texas to win the national championship and the first to win it since Texas Western won the title in 1966.

Tech, which advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history last season, is now 8-1 in the tournament the past two seasons and enter the championship game having limited its five opponents this year to 58.8 points per game and to 36.8 percent shooting.

In its 94th season, the program is in its first championship game after going through Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State to set up the Monday night matchup against Virginia. The Cavaliers will be the second No. 1 seed that Tech will face after they advanced as the South Region's top seed before knocking off Auburn with a 63-62 win in the first national semifinal on Saturday.

Tech and Virginia are both making their championship game debut and the Red Raiders are looking to become the first Big 12 Conference team to win the national title since Kansas won it in 2008.

Virginia advanced with a 63-62 win over Auburn in the first national semifinal with Kyle Guy making three free-throws in the final second of the game. The Cavaliers were down by four with 17 seconds remaining in the game before the comeback that ended the Tigers season at 30-10. Ty Jerome led Virginia with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Guy had 15 including going 3-for-3 at the free-throw line with all three coming with 0.6 seconds on the clock.

The Cavaliers, who lead the nation by limiting opponents to 55.5 points per game, are in the national final after going through Gardner-Webb, Oklahoma, Oregon, Purdue and Auburn in the tournament.

Texas Tech enters national final leading in the nation by limiting opponents to a 36.8 shooting percentage, is third in the country with teams scoring only 58.8 points per game and seventh with a 13.4 scoring margin and 183 total blocks through 37 games. The Red Raider defense ranks 10th by holding teams to 29.3 percent on 3-pointers and is 19th with a 3.4 turnover margin advantage.

Offensively, Tech is shooting 47.0 percent which is 46th nationally and was the second best within the Big 12 Conference.

Individually, Davide Moretti ranks second in the nation at 92.2 percent at the free-throw line where he is 95 of 103 in his sophomore season while Tariq Owens has the seventh most blocks in the nation with 91 after having three against Michigan State and has the 12th-best shots-per-game average at 2.50.

Jarrett Culver ranks second from the Big 12 with his 18.6 points per game and Matt Mooney was also second in the conference with 1.86 steals per game. With 249 field goals made, Culver ranks second from the conference and is 22nd nationally in made shots and 35th with 689 total points.
Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher is the editor and publisher of High Plains Pundit. Dan is also the host of the popular High Plains Pundit Podcast.

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