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At the end of Monday night, there will be a new NCAA men's basketball champion for the first time in 13 years. Neither Virginia nor Texas Tech had even come close to a championship game previously, also making this the first time that teams with no title game experience have met for a title since the seminal Michigan State-Indiana State clash in the 1979. While Monday night’s contest does not feature a captivating Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird matchup, this makes for an interesting March Madness conclusion nonetheless.
Although Texas Tech may have taken the less likely path to the final, Virginia navigated some dicey situations to advance here. The Cavaliers needed a monster contribution from Mamadi Diakite to stave off Purdue, while the Auburn game featured one of the more hotly debated endings in college basketball history. Auburn’s questionable usage of its final foul to give Kyle Guy free throws . Referees missing a Virginia double-dribble violation only intensified the Auburn agony. Nevertheless, Tony Bennett’s team — after three No. 1 seeds in a five-year span failed to produce a Final Four run — has voyaged beyond where the famed .
No Big 12 team other than Kansas has claimed a national title. No ACC program other than North Carolina or Duke has won since then-ACCer Maryland cut down the nets in 2002. Despite these teams each being geared around smothering defenses, their coaches present a contrast. Bennett is the son of a longtime college coach. His Division I coaching career began at age 30 after his NBA run concluded. One of the more unlikely modern coaching stories, Chris Beard led multiple Division II programs in this decade’s first half. His best work has come at Texas Tech.
The Texas Tech-Virginia matchup has generated a record-low over/under total of 119 points, shattering the previous mark (since 1991) by nine points. Oddsmakers are clearly expecting a defense-fueled championship game. Division I’s No. 1 defensive efficiency team, Texas Tech muzzled Michigan State, holding the Spartans to a season-low 51 points. Impressively, the Red Raiders won convincingly despite Big 12 Player of the Yearnb游戏平台 Jarrett Culver making just three field goals and two-time transfer Matt Mooney scoring 22 points. Texas Tech will face a perennially stingy Virginia team that leads the nation in points allowed (55.5 per game); the Red Raiders are third (58.8) by that measurement. This gritty contest may not end up being for the casual sect of hoops fans.
Which brings us to today’s quiz of the day. A Virginia or Texas Tech standout will join the aforementioned Magic Johnson and dozens of other performers in being named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. So with that in mind, how many MOPs from the last 40 years on the men's side can you name in six minutes?
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