Game 6
Virginia 1.214PPP (Season Average 1.009PPP)
Texas Tech 1.1PPP (Season Average .957PPP)

First half/Intro

I was very interested to see how Virginia would attack Texas Tech’s switch everything, and no middle defense. Texas Tech is obsessed with pushing the ball to baseline, and they have a ton of length and athleticism. They also have a lot of guys that can guard multiple positions. This all resulted in Texas Tech having the number 1 ranked defense in the country. Virginia ended up using their middle 3rd offense a lot of the game, and it worked pretty well. I’m still not sure on the whole idea of this offense, and I don’t know much about it, but for this game, it opened up the baseline a lot because there are always 3 guys screening for each other in the middle of the floor that the defense has to focus on. Opening up the baseline is important versus Texas Tech because it is incredibly hard to get the ball into the middle against them.

Mooney has to shoot this or attack the closeout right on the catch. He was on a hot streak and you are not getting a much better look Vs. Virginia. He jabs twice then just reverses the ball, so it is a missed opportunity.

Key and Diakite should switch this roll and replace. Diakite has good enough footwork to defend a perimeter player. Because they didn’t switch Guy has to help on Owens rolling, which leaves Mooney somewhat open for a 3 which he misses.

I credit Guy a lot here because he covered a lot of ground, to get back and get some contest on Mooney. This represents Virginia’s culture and how much urgency they play with.

Texas Tech started the game not moving the ball fast enough, and not having a lot of player movement, and as a result, they score 3 points in the first 7 minutes, which is also a credit to Virginia’s defense.

They finally had a possession with a lot of ball and player movement and got this shot, that Moretti hit. The action they used to get this was a brush screen for Culver getting him downhill to his right hand, then setting a flare for Mooney on the right side of the floor. All this got the defense scrambling and Texas Tech got a good look. This is a great action to get their best player, and a great shot-creator Culver downhill, while adding movement.

At the 11 minute mark based on how the game is going Beard realizes he needs an offense > defense lineup, so they started playing faster, and would only play one of their bigs that can’t shoot at a time most of the rest of the half, so the floor would be more spaced. They ran their spread ball screen offense during this phase of the game. Playing fast and playing like this helped Texas Tech and they hit 3 threes on consecutive possessions to cut give them life and cut the lead to 19-16. Culver was doing a great job slicing up the hard hedge, at 6’6” he has good vision and can see over the top of the defense, unlike most guards in college that don’t have his size.

This is a great read by Salt to screen his own man and expose Texas Tech’s switching defense, which gets Guy an open three that he makes to tie the score at 27. They played mostly even for the rest of the half then Ty Jerome hit a 3 to beat the buzzer and go up 32-29. Culver only had 3 points in the first half and was 0-6 from the field. This is partly a credit to Hunter and Jerome who did a solid but not great job staying in front of him, but I would give more credit to the incredible help defense of Virginia which gave him nothing easy at the rim.

Second Half

This is a great read by Jerome to start the half and a great counter to Culver top-locking him. If no one is behind in the middle of the floor this pass should be wide open every time against a top lock. Jerome catching in that position causes help, which gets Texas Tech into scramble mode, and eventually gets Guy an open three that he makes.

Deandre Hunter attacks the rim the next play down, and makes both free throws to give Virginia an 8 point lead, he is playing a lot more aggressive than he did the rest of the tournament, and this was no doubt his best game. Beard makes a great decision to sub Francis in for Odiase because clearly playing two non-shooters Vs. Virginia won’t work. Having Odiase and Owens in together is great for their defense, but since both can’t shoot it kills their spacing on offense.

This is great help by Diakite because Owens, the man he is guarding can’t shoot so Virginia is fine with him catching out on the perimeter. If Owens could shoot Diakite wouldn’t be able to help like this or else he would have an open 3. Because Owens can’t shoot Diakite can help a ton and the great screen for Moretti is wasted when it should have created an advantage. This was a very smart play by Diakite.

Hunter has to fully stop the ball here after Diakite gets beat, and trust that his teammates will help him. He is sideways instead of getting a body stop on Francis, and Francis gets an easy layup. If Hunter fully helps here it will force a kickout, But Virginia can play 2 on 3 on the weakside and scramble to shooters, where they will likely pick up a different man. They have a much better chance of getting a stop this way, and this would have likely resulted in a decently contested three-point shot with proper rotations.

I love this flare action on middle drives. Moretti is setting a flare for Mooney to the corner when Culver drives because he knows it will be very hard for Mooney’s man to slow down Culver on the drive and get through the screen. Culver gets all the way to the rim for the layup on this one, but if he were cut off Mooney would have been wide open for 3. I recommend every team trying this on Middle drives.

I would have liked to see Virginia use their normal post double team from the weak side here. Texas Tech will want to attack Jerome with Culver every time in the mid-post, So I would have liked to see Virginia double and try to get the ball out of Culver’s hands.

I believe this is Why Bennett purposely opened up the baseline for drives because this is where Texas Tech pushes you. This is great spacing and with an elite shooter like Guy in the corner, it gives the bottom guy for Texas Tech a very hard job. Jerome rifles a 1 hand pass to Guy who drills a three to put Virginia up 10.

Texas Tech goes on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 53-47, and their crowd gets very into it, then Jerome quiets them down immediately by making this very tough turnaround jumper. He is consistently making huge plays in huge moments.

Mooney needs to be all the way in the corner to Give Culver more room to operate Vs. this mismatch, but they end up getting an and 1 on this possession anyway and tie the game at 59.

This is a weakness of a switching defense, you are susceptible to Offensive Rebounds because you have smaller guards guarding bigger guys. Diakite grabs this and immediately gets fouled then goes 2 for 2 to give Virginia a 61-59 lead.

This elbow iso set Virginia runs for Hunter was perfectly defended By Culver who won’t let him drive right, but Hunter makes this contested long two. This was good Defense and better Offense.

I like how far Hunter is playing off Culver, Virginia is living with this shot by Culver, a 28% Three-point shooter.

Texas Tech has an EOB (end out of bounds) with 42 seconds left and they call a simple set for Culver to Iso. They are playing 5 shooters and spread the floor. Culver breaks down Hunter off the dribble, makes a great spin move in the lane, and scores to put Texas Tech up 66-65 with 35 seconds left. Beard trusted his star to Iso and score on an elite on-ball defender, and he delivered. I like the play call from Bennett, on giving Jerome a high ball screen, and it looked like it would work.

This is great help by Francis which forces Jerome into a runner, which isn’t an efficient shot. A Jerome runner is equivalent to .887PPP. Virginia has to foul and they foul Odiase who makes both free throws to Give Texas Tech a 68-65 lead with 22 seconds left.

This was an awful decision by Culver to help. Ideally, Odiase does a better job of staying in front, but Culver still shouldn’t have helped because a Jerome layup doesn’t tie the game. Deandre Hunter makes another big play this game and hits a huge three to tie the game with 13 seconds left.

I like the play call by Beard to set a ball screen on Guys man (the worst defender for Virginia). This gets the switch with Guy guarding Culver.

I don’t like the decision by Culver to settle for the three here with the smaller Guy guarding him, but you can tell he is playing off instinct instead of thinking and analyzing, which will benefit him more often than not in the long run. He misses the three and the game ends up going into overtime.

Overtime/Recap

This Overtime mostly consists of High ball screens For Jerome, and Texas Tech just attacking in their 4 out 1 in.

Great decision by Guy to screen his own man gets Hunter a great look from three that he makes to put Virginia up 75-73.

I know Culver wants to take the game over, but he has to skip this to Francis for a 3, he will gain experience in the NBA and be able to make great reads like this. Diakite ends up blocking him at the rim on this play. As soon as he sees Keys momentum leaving Francis it is a good time to throw the skip pass.

I actually like this decision from Mooney, especially after just making a three. He is clearly feeling it and this was a makeable look for him. With 42 seconds left the score is still 75-73 and Jerome gets to the line off the ball screen. He goes 2-2 from the line to give Virginia a 77-73 lead. The next play down Culver attacks hunter with their floor spacing small-ball lineup, and they get a great look for Francis who misses. Guy comes down and makes two free throws, then the next possession for Texas Tech Culver bombs a three and misses. Virginia made their free throws the rest of the way and gave Texas Tech no chance to come back. They won 85-77, and win their first ever National Championship! This game was known as a defensive battle, but that was actually not true for this one. They are both great defensive teams, but this game had a well over average PPP for both teams. Both teams played fantastic offense and made key shots. Virginia did a solid job staying in front of Culver and had great help when they didn’t. They gave him a step and forced him into a lot of jumpers which he was 1-8 on. They held Culver to 5-22 shooting total. I thought Culver still had a solid impact on the game, he plays extremely hard and affects the game in many ways. He never got discouraged or lost his aggression once despite his terrible field goal percentage. An underrated key to the game was Clark’s defense on Mooney. Mooney ended up with 10 points, but 5 of the 10 were in overtime when Clark was out, and Jerome was guarding him. Mooney had 5 points on Clark regulation, and both of the shots he hit on him were extremely contested jumpers.

Stats

Virginia
Points: 85
FG: 27/59
3FG: 11-24
FT: 20-23
A-TO Ratio: 15-11
Offensive Rebounds: 11

Texas Tech
Points: 77
FG: 27/63
3FG: 10/30
FT: 13/15
A-TO Ratio: 9-8
Offensive Rebounds: 9