Archive for the ‘NCAA Basketball’ Category

The Final Four teams are ready to play in the NCAA basketball tournament

April 2, 2019

JARRETT CULVER OF TEXAS TECH SHOOTS OVER GONZAGA’S RUI HACHIMURA DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE RED RAIDERS’ 75-69 WIN OVER THE BULLDOGS

Photo Credit: AP

Virginia will play Auburn and Michigan State will play Texas Tech on Saturday, April 6, 2019 to determine the finals of the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Virginia (33-3) v Auburn (30-9)

Virginia has defeated Gardner-Webb, Oklahoma, Oregon and Purdue.  Virginia only beat Oregon by 4 and needed a buzzer beater to force overtime against Purdue. The Virginia-Purdue game is said to be the best game of this year’s tournament.

Auburn defeated New Mexico State, Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky to reach the team’s first Final Four.  (Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky are the three winningest teams in college basketball history.)  Auburn narrowly escaped the first round with a 1-point win over New Mexico State.

Auburn will need to adjust without 6-8 sophomore Chuma Okeke (average of 12 points per game), the Tigers’ best front court player who tore his ACL early in the second half of Auburn’s Sweet 16 win over North Carolina.  With Okeke out against Kentucky in the Elite Eight, 6-8 junior Anfernee McLemore (6.6 ppg) played 32 minutes and 6-7 junior Danjel Purifoy (3.6 ppg) played 30 minutes.

This game will feature five players shooting at least 37 % for 3-pointers.  For Virginia they are 6-2 junior Kyle Guy (15.2 ppg), 6-5 junior Ty Jerome (13.3 ppg) and 6-7 sophomore De’Andre Hunter (14.9 ppg).  For Auburn they are 5-11 junior Jared Harper (15.4 ppg) and 6-3 senior Bryce Brown (16 ppg).  The 3-point shot could very well determine the winner of this game.  Guy is Virginia’s leading scorer.  The Cavaliers’ leading rebounder is 6-8 junior Braxton Key (5.4 rpg).  Jerome is Virginia’s assists leader (5.3 apg).

Harper and Brown combined for 50 of Auburn’s 77 points in their win over Kentucky.  5-9 freshman Kihei Clark (4.4 ppg) of Virginia should draw primary duty on Haprer of Auburn, which means that Virginia’s Guy will likely spend most of his time on defense matching up with Auburn’s Brown.  Whoever gets the better of the one-on-one matchup  between Guy and Brown could send his team to the title game.

Austin Wiley, a 6-11 junior, leads Auburn in rebounds (4.2 rpg) and Harper leads Auburn in assists (5.9 apg)

Michigan State (32-6) v Texas Tech (30-6)

Michigan State defeated Bradley, Minnesota, LSU and Duke.  Michigan State is arguably the best balanced team in the country.  Five of their six losses have been by 5 points or less and two of those were in overtime.  The Spartans’ 6-0 junior Cassius Winston (18.9 ppg) was the Big Ten Player of the Year.  Winston took over the game against Duke when his team faced its biggest deficit as the Spartans beat No. 1 ranked Duke by a score of 68-67.  Duke was led by the most electric player in college basketball,  6-7,  285-pound freshman Zion Williamson (22.6 ppg).  Xavier Tillman, a 6-8 sophomore, scored 19 points against Duke and averages 10.1 ppg.

Texas Tech defeated Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan and Gonzaga.  Texas Tech is said to be the best defensive team in the country.  The Red Raiders’ defense can render any offense completely ineffective.  This will be the fist Final Four for Texas Tech.  The Red Raiders’ top scorer is 6-5 sophomore Jarrett Culver (18.9 ppg), who will probably be the best offensive player in the game.  He also leads Texas Tech in rebounds (6.4 rpg)and assists (3.8 apg). Culver will be guarded closely by Michigan State’s 6-6 freshman Aaron Henry (5.9 ppg) and 6-7 senior Kenny Goins (8.1 ppg). Goins is the Spartans’ leading rebounder (9.0 rpg).

UPDATE ON THE SEMI-FINALS RESULTS — Virginia beat Auburn by a score of 63-62 and Texas Tech beat Michigan State 61-51.  Virginia’s Kyle Guy was fouled while shooting a 3-point shot from the corner with 0.6 seconds left in the game when the Cavaliers were behind by 2 points.  Guy then made all three free throws to eliminate the Tigers from the tournament. Michigan State trailed by 13 points with 9:40 to play.  Henry Aaron’s driving layup cut the deficit to 52-51 with 2:54 to play. The Red Raiders outscored the Spartans 9-0 after that point.

UPDATE ON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP — Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime. The Cavaliers led by 10 with about 10 minutes to go and led by 8 at the 5:46 mark. The Red Raiders went ahead 68-65 on Norense Odiase’s two free throws with 22 seconds to play.  De’Andre Hunter of Virginia then made a three-point shot with 12 seconds to play to knot up the score at 68.  Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech missed a potentially game-winning jumper with one second to put the game into overtime.  Texas Tech went ahead 73-70 with 3:09 to play on Matt Mooney’s jump shot.  Virginia then out-scored Texas Tech 15-4 to win the national championship.

Virginia’s top scorers were De’Andre Hunter (27), Kyle Guy (24) and Ty Jerome (16).  The top scorers for Texas Tech were Brandone Francis (17), Davide Moretti (15), Jarrett Culver (15) and Kyler Edwards (10).  Guy was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

CASSIUS WINSTON OF MICHIGAN STATE DRIVES BY DUKE’S R. J. BARRETT; WINSTON WAS THE SPARTANS’ LEADING SCORER WITH 20 AND ALSO HAD A GAME-HIGH 10 ASSISTS 

Photo Credit: Annie Barker / The State News

NORENSE ODIASE OF TEXAS TECH AND MAMADI DIAKITE OF VIRGINIA BATTLE FOR THE REBOUND DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images

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