Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME –
IT’S TEXAS TECH VS. VIRGINIA
FOR THE COVETED COLLEGE HOOPS CROWN
(AND, FOLKS, IT’S A REAL TOSS-UP AFFAIR!) …
PLUS, THERE’S KEY TITLE GAME-RELATED CHARTS
Let’s dial things back a bit before we go forward with a look at tonight’s NCAA Championship Game between Texas Tech versus Virginia:
The preseason Associated Press Top 25 listed the Virginia Cavaliers as the #8 team in the country (behind Kansas, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Duke, Villanova, Nevada and Tennessee … and none of them made it to this year’s Final Four in Minneapolis!) – while Texas Tech was nowhere to be found in the original AP Top 25 plus the Red Raiders were picked for seventh place in the uber-competitive Big 12.
Yet, here they are on the second Monday night in April – Texas Tech (31-6) and Virginia (34-3) – looking to snatch up all the marbles in the NCAA Championship Game. Neither team’s ever gotten this far in men’s hoops but both are chock full of major storylines heading into the prime-time showdown this evening.
Consider that the Techsters are the only team in this year’s tourney to be 5-and-oh ATS (against the spread) while the Wahoos have come back from the depths of being the first-ever team that lost to a #16 seed (UMBC) in last year’s tourney – and note that neither team won its conference tourney back in early-to-mid March (heck, T-Tech was one-and-done with a loss to 13.5-point underdog West Virginia in the Big 12 mini-tourney) and we’ve yet to come upon a single soul that had this exact matchup for the national championship.
But fate surely has smiled on both teams in this tourney – okay, so it has smiled on Virginia a whole lot more with some of these recent close-call victories! – and now we’re about to discover who fate is gonna be smiling on tonight.
We’ll get to our Jim Hurley Preview in a moment but first here’s the up-to-date pointspread records for both teams this season:
TEAM ATS RECORD PCT
Virginia 25-12-0 .676
Texas Tech 20-16-1 .556
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers bring you the Side & Totals winners in tonight’s NCAA Tournament Championship Game plus there’s NBA and MLB winners too all week long. Get ‘em all right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and make you’re winning big long after the college basketball season’s been put to bed tonight!
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME –
US Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
TEXAS TECH (31-6) vs. VIRGINIA (34-3) – 9:20 p.m. ET, CBS
Okay, so you get the idea:
Someone is gonna be cutting down the nets here for the first time ever with a national hoops title on the line and never mind now that the slightest of betting favorites – the 1-point chalk Virginia Cavaliers – shouldn’t be here in the first place because of a failed non-call on a sure double-dribble in the closing seconds of last Saturday’s 63-62 non-cover win against 6.6-point pup Auburn. The zebras blew it big-time there but the legit foul call when Cavs’ G Kyle Guy was lower-bodied on that last-second three-point corner attempt can’t be denied … it was a foul and cool-as-ice Guy drained all three free throws.
Now, Guy and backcourt mate Ty Jerome (21 points / 9 rebounds / 6 assists versus War Eagle) must be “volume shooters” once again – they combined to hit 13-of-27 FG attempts the other day – and Virginia’s famed “pack line” defense absolutely has to hold Texas Tech to sub-.400 percent from the floor here after Auburn bagged just 21-of-55 shots (that’s 38.2 percent).
It’s easy to think the Wahoos can batten down the hatches and hold anyone in check but truth is the Red Raiders really only received a big offensive game from gritty Matt Mooney in that 61-51 triumph over Michigan State in the other national semifinal game this past Saturday. Note that Mooney sported a game-high 22 points (that included four made triples) against Sparty while hitting 8-of-16 FGs, so that means all the other Techsters shot a combined 14-of-35 from the field … and that imply ain’t gonna cut it against Tony Bennett’s team here if T-Tech thinks it’s gonna win it all.
Finally, still underrated Tech head coach Chris Beard has a true secret weapon in 6-foot-10 backline star Tariq Owens who the stat sheet says blocked three shots against Michigan State but how many opponent shots did Owens impact with his 10-foot long wingspan in that tilt? If Owens can move in and get his fingers on some around-the-hoop shots by the likes of Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite and/or De’Andre Hunter, then it’s advantage to the Big 12 team.
For what it’s worth, NCAA Tournament Betting Favorites this year are a collective 30-36-0 against the odds (see day-by-day chart below).
Here’s how Texas Tech and Virginia made it thru this year’s NCAA Tournament. Note the “W” or “L” below pertains to a win or loss against the spread:
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
3-22 Texas Tech - 13.5 No. Kentucky W 72-57
3-24 Texas Tech - 4 Buffalo W 78-58
3-28 Texas Tech + 2 Michigan W 63-44
3-30 Texas Tech + 5.5 Gonzaga W 75-69
4-6 Texas Tech + 2 Michigan St. W 61-51
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
3-22 Virginia - 22.5 Gardner Webb L 71-56
3-24 Virginia - 10.5 Oklahoma W 63-51
3-28 Virginia - 8.5 Oregon L 53-49
3-30 Virginia - 4.5 Purdue (ot) W 80-75
4-6 Virginia - 6.5 Auburn L 63-62
Okay, so here’s the NCAA Tournament day-by-day look at the Betting Favorites:
DATE FAVS VS SPREAD
March 19 2-0-0
March 20 1-1-0
March 21 7-9-0
March 22 5-11-0
March 23 6-2-0
March 24 5-3-0
March 28 1-3-0
March 29 2-2-0
March 30 1-1-0
March 31 0-2-0
April 6 0-2-0
Total 30-36-0 (.455)
NCAA TOURNAMENT POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART
Here’s a look at how conferences / leagues have fared thus far in the NCAA Tournament while heading into tonight’s NCAA Championship Game (note: minimum five tourney games):
CONF/LEAGUE WON LOST TIED PCT
Pac-12 5 2 0 .714
Big 12 9 4 0 .692
Big 10 13 8 0 .619
American Athletic 4 3 0 .571
SEC 8 11 0 .421
West Coast 2 3 0 .400
ACC 6 14 0 .300
Big East 1 4 0 .200
NOTE: We’ll analyze/dissect the NCAA Championship Game in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez with lots of pointspread goodies.