Virginia has completed the impossible. The Cavaliers the only one-seed in NCAA history to lose to a 16-seed. They wore that badge of honor well all throughout the offseason and during this season. However, now they are only one-seed to ever lose to a 16-seed AND THEN win the NCAA Championship the following season. Good luck to the next one-seed to lose to a 16.
Tony Bennett, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and (in a way) De’Andre Hunter exercised all the demons from last year. Honestly, we should have seen this coming. They knocked off Purdue and Carsen Edwards thanks to a Mamadi Diakite buzzer beater. Guy sank three free throws with just tenths of a second remaining to move past Auburn. THEN it took overtime and a Jarrett Culver rushed shot at the end of regulation to finally cut down the nets. What a remarkable story.
Virginia’s MVP Goes Unheralded
So at the end of the game I ran a poll.
MVP of the game:
— Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti) April 9, 2019
I was curious to see if people saw the game the same way I did. In my opinion I think there are two options for MVP: Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter.
Hunter: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal on 8-16/4-5/7-9 shooting splits, including the game-tying three.
Jerome: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal on 6-16/2-6/2-2 shooting splits, including the game-tying assist.
Ultimately I went with Hunter because of his defense on Jarrett Culver. But I cannot believe that Ty Jerome didn’t win MVP of the Final Four. Look at the numbers:
Hunter: 41 total points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 6 turnovers on 15-27/4-6/7-11 shooting.
Guy: 39 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers on 13-26/6-15/7-7 shooting.
Jerome: 37 total points, 15 rebounds, 14 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 3 turnovers on 14-32/6-15/3-5 shooting.
Despite Jerome having the lowest scoring output of the bunch he still impacts the game significantly more on offense than his teammates. Moreover, his ability to get into the lane and kick it out to open shooters was, I think, the difference in the game. Virginia could do it, Texas Tech could not.
On Tuesday’s Good ‘N Plenty podcast Jeff Goodman and Rob Dauster go over all the storylines from a classic title game.
Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. Finally, make sure you follow Jeff on Twitter here.
1:37 Virginia wins a memorable Final Four and Championship
9:20 Cavaliers exercised all their demons
20:11 Clean program crowned in a year of controversy
26:44 Better game than 2016?