Published: Wed, April 10, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Bengals fan and Virginia guard Kyle Guy is now a national champion

Bengals fan and Virginia guard Kyle Guy is now a national champion

Both teams shook off terrible offensive starts to the game to play a thrilling, back-and-forth final 25 minutes. On Monday, the Red Raiders shot themselves back into the game with a barrage of threes in the first half, but they might have been a bit of fool's gold. "I think (last year's loss to UMBC) bought us a ticket to a national championship".

One of the greatest, even.

The bucket tied the game that the Cavaliers went on to win 85-77 in overtime, delivering a resounding response to last season's historic NCAA Tournament flameout.

Anyone fretting that pitting two of the country's best defenses against each other on the biggest stage might lead to a monumental flop need not have anxious.

The NCAA basketball championship game always delivers - and today's finale between Virginia and Texas Tech was no exception. It wasn't ideal, but it was fantastic.

During the tortilla retrieval, several fans watching the game grew increasingly confused by the holdup.

It was a game of stories and a game of moments, with the latter informing the former.

Instead of giving Texas the ball and a chance to tir the game, Virginia went up the other end and extended their lead. This time, Virginia took care of business.

As for the Red Raiders (31-7) - the team full of overlooked grinders refused to quit.

The genesis of the obscure tortilla toss fan "sport" began when Texas Tech football students started flinging the plastic tops to their sodas on the field back in 1989, according to Viva the Matadors.

By Monday night, Guy and the Cavaliers had the final word.

"We started making plays", Culver said, "and that opened up the door".

Jerome found Guy on a no-look pass for a three to get Virginia's lead to ten, 53-43 with 10:22 to go, but two consecutive layups from Moretti made it a six-point game.

Even if Texas Tech isn't playing like an underdog - it handled Michigan State more easily than Virginia dealt with Auburn - and even if the Red Raiders have not needed Virginia's good fortune at this tournament, why would anyone in the Texas Tech inner sanctum suddenly shift to a favored team's mentality?

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Brandone Francis had 17 points off the bench to lead Texas Tech.

Instead, Hunter reached legend status. I just stood there.

Hunter made the game-tying three, and the rest was history. "There wasn't one person who picked us to win". "They iso'd him, and he hit just a lot of tough shots".

Still, Texas Tech had a chance to tie it after what almost became the most infamous attempted timeout since Chris Webber in 1993.

Hunter led all scorers with 27 points. But the third-seed rallied and reeled off a 16-4 run to take the lead late in the first half. Ty Jerome added 16 points and eight assists.

"I'm all ears: they can say what they want", Guy said.

The Red Raiders and the Cavaliers are the only two teams left standing of the 64 that entered the NCAA Tournament and whatever the outcome on Monday, the tournament will have a first-time victor. It ended with Hunter launching the ball into the Minneapolis air as a champion.

"It hasn't set in yet", Guy said in the locker room.

The team full of overlooked grinders refused to quit.

That, though, missed the truth of this matchup. It had overtime for the first time since 2008. He made both, putting the Red Raiders up three.

"For him to come speak from his heart, he riled us up, he was very excited, energized to be there with us", senior Norense Odiase said.

This is the cleanest way to hedge, as the moneyline is simply a wager on which team wins the game.

"It was everything and more". "This is everything you dream of since you're a little kid".

Last year, the Wolverines were such a fun group to watch. The catharsis of the final moment, when the buzzer-beater goes in or the defender cradles the rebounded ball in his arms as the last seconds tick away, is its own reward.

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