Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-6, 14-4)
Bad Guys: Virginia Cavaliers (34-3, 16-2)
When to Watch: Monday, April 8th @ 8:20 p.m.
Where to Watch: U.S. Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
How to Watch: CBS | MarchMadnessLive
How to Listen: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
The Line: Virginia -1.5 (OddsShark)
|THE STARTERS||Pts / Reb|
|POINT GUARD||Davide Moretti (6-3/175)||11.4 / 2.5*|
|SHOOTING GUARD||Matt Mooney (6-3/200)||11.3 / 3.3*|
|SMALL FORWARD||Jarrett Culver (6-5/195)||18.6 / 378*|
|POWER FORWARD||Tariq Owens (6-10/205)||8.8 / 5.8|
|CENTER||Norense Odiase (6-9/245)||4.1 / 5.3|
|THE BENCH||Pts / Reb|
|SIXTH MAN||Kyler Edwards (6-3/200)||5.3 / 2.2|
|SEVENTH MAN||Brandone Francis (6-5/215)||6.2 / 2.3|
|EIGHTH MAN||Deshawn Corprew (6-5/210)||5.1 / 3.4|
|NINTH MAN||Malik Ondigo (6-10/215)||1.3 / 1.2|
|TENTH MAN||Josh Mballa (6-7/215)||0.8 / 0.3|
|ELEVENTH MAN||Khavon Moore (6-7/215)||0.0 / 0.0|
|THE STARTERS||Pts / Reb|
|POINT GUARD||Kihei Clark (5-9/155)||4.6 / 2.5*|
|SHOOTING GUARD||Kyle Guy (6-2/175)||15.2 / 4.5|
|SMALL FORWARD||Ty Jerome (6-5/195)||13.5 / 5.4|
|POWER FORWARD||De’Andre Hunter (6-7/225)||14.9 / 5.0|
|CENTER||Mamadi Diakite (6-9/228)||7.4 / 4.4|
|THE BENCH||Pts / Reb|
|SIXTH MAN||Braxton Key (6-8/225)||5.6 / 5.1|
|SEVENTH MAN||Jack Salt (6-10/250)||3.8 / 3.8|
|EIGHTH MAN||Jay Huff (7-1/232)||4.5 / 2.2|
|NINTH MAN||Marco Anthony (6-4/212)||1.2 / 0.5|
|TENTH MAN||Kody Stattmann (6-7/187)||1.7 / 0.6|
1. Stats. They’re all good. All good. It’s amazing how good Virginia is overall. Virginia is 4th overall in offensive efficiency, 19th in eFG%, 11th in turnover percentage and one of the top ten three-point shooting teams in the nation, good for 39% overall. There are only a couple of things that the Cavaliers don’t do well, which is shoot free throws, only 281st in free throw rate (when they shoot them, they make 71%) and they don’t crash the boards, only 101st in offensive rebounding. Defensively though, the Cavaliers are just elite pretty much across the board. They are 7th in defensive efficiency, 8th in eFG%, 60th in limiting opposing offensive rebounds, and 22nd in limiting other teams from shooting free throws. They are top 25 in limiting three-point percentage, two-point shots, free throw percentage and block percentage.
2. Scouting. Statistically, Hunter is their best player. He’s Virginia’s Culver, a highly rated prospect who should get drafted highly in the 2019 NBA Draft, shoots well, and can shoot from the outside, 56% from inside the arc and 42% from beyond the arc. When I watched the Auburn game, it seemed that Jerome is the guy that is the main ball-handler his a high assist rate and doesn’t turn the ball over that much. So for all intents and purposes, he’s the guy that will have the ball in his hands most of the time. Guy is an amazing shooter, making 43% of his three-point shots and he’s such an effective shooter pretty much everywhere on the court, but he’s mainly a three-point threat, taking 273 on the year. Diakite is very similar to Owens in that he’s not a thick player, but he’s a terrific shot blocker and affects shots on the backside of things.
3. How They Match Up. If Owens were fully healthy, then I’d be pretty sure that the starting fives would be how the teams will match-up, but with Owens out, then I’m thinking that Francis and Corprew will battle against Hunter with Culver picking up that spot as well. I think that maybe sticking Culver on Jerome and try to control how Jerome involves his teammates could be a really effective plan. Culver has the athleticism to keep pace for sure. Mooney will be the guy that has to keep Guy in check and those long arms should hopefully be very effective. Diakite is not an offensive player, so making sure that Odiase cleans up the glass will be his main job tonight.
4. Reading Material. A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – No. 9 Red Raiders spar with tough-nosed Cavaliers in title bout:
“I’ve never seen a more mentally tough team,” Beard said of the Cavaliers. “You think about how their season ended last year (losing in the first round to No. 16 seed UMBC). And then to be right back here a year later, that’s incredible mental toughness. They’ve had the two games in this year’s tournament run. You’ve got to give yourselves a chance all the way to the end, that’s mental toughness. When you have these grind-out, long possessions, that’s mental toughness, the discipline they play with.
“Just like with Michigan State, I said there’s no way we’re going to out-tough anybody. We’ve got to match it. I don’t think we’re going to out-tough Virginia’s mental toughness. We’ve just got to match it.”
A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – Owens says ’I’m good” for national title game:
All kidding aside, Owens was firm in stating he will be ready to play against the Cavaliers on Monday.
“I’m good,” Owens said. “We didn’t make it this far to not play. I mean, this has been a dream of mine and nothing is going to stop me from playing.”
A-J Media’s Carlos Silva, Jr. – First-year assistant Burg has had hand in Red Raiders’ success:
“I’ve had all types of people help me throughout my career,” said Burg. “I’m extremely fortunate in my path, which you could call non-traditional. I’m blessed to be here, it’s a dream come true. Looking back at my career, from NAIA, Division III, junior college, Division I, I can relate just like coach Beard when he talks about guys driving the 15-passenger vans, the guys that are eating sack lunches after a game or at a gas station.
“Some of those memories are my most favorite years of coaching.”
A-J Media’s Matt Dotray – Former Tech standouts Dora and Ross aid team as graduate assistants:
Dora and Ross are now helping take Tech to new heights. As former players themselves, Dora and Ross have a way of connecting with the team.
“I’m able to share my experience with them,” Ross said Sunday in the locker room. “I know what they’re going through, I’ve been in those same shoes. And a lot of this is new experiences: learning how to take the coaching, understanding how to handle adversity. I really just try to share my experience as a player, and really be a mentor having played myself.”
Dora said this year has been really important to him, and he’s excited to be part of the team.
“I think it’s smart of coach Beard to have (former players) around, he does a good job of putting together people that can help the program, or we wouldn’t be here,” Dora said. “We have a good group of guys that surround the guys every day, and try to be like a big brother. It’s fun, I enjoy be around them and guiding them during times when they need a little help.”
A-J Media’s Matt Dotray – Beard’s success with Red Raiders is no surprise to his daughters:
Ella said she always knew her dad was a good coach, it’s just now he’s getting recognized for it.
She said her dad is very family-oriented. It translate to the way he coaches.
“I definitely see it by the way he treats his players,” Ella said. “He tries to build the same relationships with his players. He also tries to incorporate the players’ families, which helps build that team bond.”
Beard walked with his daughters out onto the practice court on Friday, the day before the team’s Final Four matchup against Michigan State, which the Red Raiders would win 61-51 Saturday evening to advance to the national championship game at 8:20 p.m. Monday against Virginia. Beard typically ends the practice with one of his daughters doing a drill, whether it’s shooting a layup or taking a charge.
5. Official Site. The official site has their preview right here:
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.