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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM









It’s official.

We have our first-ever College B-ball national champ from the great state of Virginia … but who could ever have predicted the Cavaliers would need four consecutive skin-of-their-teeth wins to garner the hoops title?

Last night’s classic – and we do mean classic – 85-77 overtime win by 2-point betting favorite Virginia (35-3) over Texas Tech not only erased those NCAA Tourney demons from a year ago but set up the Wahoos as one of the greatest stories in tournament history:

A 4-point win against Oregon in the Sweet 16;

A 5-point overtime win against Purdue in the Elite 8;

A 1-point win against Auburn in the Final Four;

And then the 8-point OT win against Texas Tech (31-7) that cemented the legion of this 2018-19 Virginia campaign … Mr. Thomas Jefferson, move over ‘cause there’s some new Big Men on Campus!

Interestingly enough, the Cavs became the fourth team in the last 10 years from the Atlantic Coast Conference to cut down the nets at year’s end but this UVa bunch merely broke even against Mr. Vig this tourney (see 3-3 against the odds) and it could have been a whole lot worse for Virginia backers this tourney.

Survive and advance … all the way to the history books.



YEAR                       CHAMP                          OPP                        Score

2019                       Virginia                          Texas Tech    (ot)  85-77

2018                       Villanova                        Michigan               79-62

2017                       North Carolina              Gonzaga                71-65

2016                       Villanova                        North Carolina      77-74

2015                       Duke                               Wisconsin              68-63

2014                       Connecticut                   Kentucky                60-54

2013                       Louisville                        Michigan               82-76

2012                       Kentucky                        Kansas                   67-59

2011                       Connecticut                   Butler                     53-41

2010                       Duke                               Butler                     61-59


Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers say bye-bye to the College Basketball season but there’s a whole lot more straight ahead when it comes to the NBA and Major-League Baseball. Get ‘em all right here at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and make you’re winning big in pro hoops as the NBA Playoffs begin Saturday afternoon.



VIRGINIA 85, TEXAS TECH 77 (ot) – Yes, Virginia, there is no rule against piling up the points even though everyone knows you as a “defensive team”.

Okay, so it got whacked over our heads last night that the Wahoos became the first team ranked #1 in scoring defense to win a crown since the 1958-59 California Golden Bears but gotta say that head coach Dick Bennett (still no Hall of Famer, Dickie V.!) needed his big three offensive players to rise to the occasion to bag this triumph over a gritty/gutty Texas Tech team that will forever rue the fact they left De’Andre Hunter wide open from the deep corner for a game-knotting triple with 12 seconds left in regulation.

As it turned out, Hunter – who started 0-for-7 from the floor – finished with 27 points, G Kyle Guy poured in 24 points and always-active guard Ty Jerome registered 16 points as this trio scored 79 percent of their team’s points while hitting 47 percent of their shots against one of the country’s best defenses. Maybe you’ll recall we said that Tech would win this title tilt providing it kept Virginia to sub-.400 shooting … not the case as the Cavs drained 27-of-59 shots (that’s 45.8 percent) and for some unknown reason the underdog Red Raiders sloughed off some wide-open shooters and that had color analyst Bill Raftery tearing his hair out.

No doubt that Texas Tech could have won with a healthier Tariq Owens – his bum ankle really limited his movements – and future pro Jarrett Culver (5-of-22 from the floor including 0-for-6 from “3”) had a forgettable evening but then again who knew the Red Raiders bench would produce a whopping 29 points.

Two plays: The end-of-first-half triple that Virginia hit and that aforementioned Hunter trey late in regulation – it’s why the folks in Lubbock are singing the blues today.


Here’s the NCAA Tournament path the Virginia Cavaliers took to their first-ever national championship:


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

4-8                          Virginia                  - 2                   Texas Tech (ot)        W 85-77



Here’s a look at how conferences / leagues fared in the NCAA Tournament (Note: A minimum five tourney games):


CONF/LEAGUE                      WON              LOST               TIED                PCT

Pac-12                                    5                      2                      0                      .714

Big 12                                     9                      5                      0                      .643

Big 10                                     13                   8                      0                      .619

American Athletic                4                      3                      0                       .571

SEC                                          8                      11                   0                      .421

West Coast                            2                      3                      0                       .400

ACC                                         7                      14                   0                      .333

Big East                                  1                      4                      0                      .200




Let’s take a quick-hitter look at what’s on the Tuesday/Wednesday night dockets as we head towards the playoffs that begin on Saturday:


Eastern Conference –

Seven of the eight post-season spots have been gobbled up with both Brooklyn and Orlando nabbing berths with their road wins this past Sunday – but what gives for that last spot with Detroit (39-41) in the proverbial “driver’s seat” with a home game against out-of-it Memphis this evening and a road game at woeful New York on Wednesday night while Charlotte (38-42) needs to win at Cleveland and then beat visiting Orlando and count on the Pistons losing one of those games (Charlotte owns the tiebreaker after sweeping all four games from the Motowners this year).

In order, it’s Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and Indiana in the #1 thru #5 seeds.


Western Conference –

The eight post-season spots here were grabbed a loooong time ago but there’s still some intrigue as Houston’s hoping to overtake Denver for the #2 seed (the Nuggets are up a half-game and are at Utah tonight and home to Minnesota tomorrow) while there’s still a #6-7-8 seed scramble with nobody wanting to play Golden State (56-24) in Round I beginning Saturday or Sunday.

Don’t discount the notion that Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers are could be overpriced these last two nights with the theory they “need” their games to improve playoff seeding.


NOTE: More NBA plus MLB goodies in the next Jim Sez.


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