Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Watching the game

The NCAA National Basketball Championship game between Texas Tech and Virginia is about to start. I’ll attempt to offer some thoughts as the game goes on. I’ll be pulling for Texas Tech who last lost to my West Virginia University Mountaineers in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Two Games later that same Mountaineer team suffered a record setting home loss to Coastal Carolina.

Virginia made the final game after an unlikely series of events in the semifinals that allowed the Cavaliers to shoot three free throws with 1.5 seconds on the clock to defeat Auburn by a point. All I’ll predict is the game will be under 120 points.

•I guess it’s noteworthy that neither team has ever been to the championship game. That will keep Blue Blood lovers away. Good riddance!

•After two minutes the much too early edge goes to Virginia’s defense.

•Teams are a combined one of nine from the field at the first media timeout. A defensive struggle as expected, or perhaps worse than expected.

•Seven minutes into the game and Tech has no field goals and Virginia is on a 7-0 run to lead 9-3 and looking comfortable.
•Virginia extends the lead to 10 at the midway point of the first half. Texas Tech can’t afford to let UVA get too far away. Tech has been able to get inside and get fouled; they need to continue that attack.

•Right on cue, Tech storms back and leads at the 5:22 mark, 23-21. Offenses have begun to play at a higher level. That doesn’t mean this game will become a scoring fest, but it has great intensity and worthy of a championship.

•UVA runs the clock down perfectly at the end of the half and hits a three pointer with one-second left to take a 32-29 halftime lead. That 61-point total is more at halftime than either semifinal on Saturday.  So far, the officials have not interjected themselves into the game, which is a good thing.

•Every once in a while Charles Barkley will make me laugh, but I have no Earthly clue why CBS and TBS see fit to have he and Kenny Smith on that TV crew. Both of them struggle to speak coherently. Clark Kellogg is a pro that really doesn’t need that side show hindering his analysis.

•Well, if the first minute of the second half is an indicator, Tech is in trouble. They left sharp shooter Kyle Guy open for an uncontested three, and then threw the ball away, which led to two free throws and a 37-29 deficit. Still early, but two mental errors were costly.

•With 10 minutes to go Tech left Guy open for another three pointer and Virginia leads 53-43. Going to be tough for the Red Raiders to climb back in it, though they did once earlier.

•Texas Tech has kept Virginia from putting the game away, but remain down six points with just under five minutes to play. Game still up for grabs, but Virginia’s to lose at this point.

•Sure, I know what’s going on. In a little more than a minute Tech scores five points and is going to the line with a chance to tie the game at 59 with 3:28 to go. He did.

•My under 120 points is out the window with Tech leading 66-65 with 35 left. Great game here no matter who wins.

•Two clutch free throws by Tech and a deep corner three by Virginia in the final seconds has us tied at 68 and going to overtime for the first time since 2008. Not exactly what I was hoping for at 11:30 P.M.

•Virginia puts together an 11-0 run during overtime to outlast Texas Tech 85-77. There is something poignant about Virginia becoming the first number one seed to ever lose to a 16 seed in 2018, only to be seeded number one again in 2019 and winning the whole thing.

•Not the way I wanted things to go, but this March Madness may have not had the number of first weekend upsets that so many of us like, but this tournament had more than enough wild finishes to satisfy most.

On a closing note some of you may be interested to know that WVU will be holding head coach Neal Brown’s first Gold-Blue Spring Game this Saturday at Mountaineer Field at 1 p.m. The Mountaineers will be unveiling new uniforms.