Redemption. The one word that describes the 2019 NCAA season for its champion, the University of Virginia, is, redemption. Last season, they were the first number 1 seed to lose in the Round of 64 to a number 16 seed, and now, they have bounced back to be the national champion for the first time in the school’s history. They are also the fourth team to win the national championship after being eliminated the year prior in the round of 64. They looked to be beaten or close to it on multiple occasions during the NCAA tournament, but, they showed their strength and ability to bounce back for all of those occasions to come out on top. A truly great season for Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers.
The National Championship Game. It involved an outstanding back and forth game between Texas Tech and Virginia. Both schools are rightfully billed as being outstanding defenses that typically play at a slower pace, which is how the game started. However, the offenses really came alive in this game, particularly in the second half/OT. There were multiple instances throughout where it seemed that Virginia were going to pull away, especially early in the first half and in the early stages of the second half. However, Texas Tech showed their mettle and fight to battle back and keep the game close, particularly with their outside shooting early on. They were in range to potentially pull out the victory all throughout the game but came up just short in the end with Virginia winning in overtime, 85-77.
The Battle of the Stars. When the game needed it most, the game came down to each teams’ stars and one star shined the brightest on this night and his name is Deandre Hunter. In the lead up to this game, one match up I was particularly keen on watching was the match up of potential lottery picks between Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech (ranked no. 5 on ESPN) and Deandre Hunter of Virginia (ranked no. 6 on ESPN). Early in the game, both stars had clear troubles against one another offensively, but as the game progressed, Hunter looked to be the better of the two. They both picked up their games offensively in the second half, but Hunter made the game much tougher for Culver with his defense than Culver did for Hunter. This is what tipped the scales in favour of Hunter and in the end, put it in favour for Virginia to take the win. Both were clutch in the second half, with Culver making the layup to take a 1 point lead with 3.5 seconds left, but later, Hunter made the game tying 3 with 12 seconds left after Culver left him open in the corner to play help defense. After no baskets were scored, the game went to overtime where Hunter was the one who mainly made his impact on the game by scoring 5 points and being the main contributor to holding Culver to 0 points in the frame. All in all, Hunter wins the battle and the war with his team winning the national championship.
Deejay (The Middle Fro)