“The only real defense is active defense”, meaning defense for the purpose of counter-attacking and taking the offensive” -Mao Zedong

OK, maybe quoting of the Art of War is a bit dramatic, but hey, tonight is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game that features two of the nations top rated defenses. The Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Cavilers rank 1st in points allowed and the Red Raiders are 3rd in points allowed. For some reason, I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about this style of basketball. Sure, if you’re an average spectator of the game, this may be perceived as low action and boring, but if you consider yourself a die hard fan I have to scoff in your direction a bit.

A slow pace of play and defensive struggle are hallmarks of some of the finest basketball one can observe. If you want points, go watch the NBA. College basketball game play is pure. You know what’s a snooze fest? Game 76 of an 82 game NBA season where players’ bodies are worn out and they don’t really want to contest another layup. The college game is akin to a fine ’47 Cheval Blanc from the St-Emilion vineyard paired with a perfectly constituted ricotta in comparison.

The so called basketball fans who do not appreciate a defensive struggle are the same individuals who prefer checkers over a stimulating game of chess, prefer light beer over a finely crafted IPA, would rather attend a monster truck rally over spectating the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All this being said, I enjoy the occasional game of checkers myself and think everything is good in context. The problem arises out of the inability of some to see the inherent value in something more refined or intellectual. Basketball is the perfect sport in the context of complex strategy, athleticism and sheer grace. Do yourself a favor and next time you watch a game mute the television and turn on some classical music. It pairs amazingly well.

Our prediction for tonight’s match-up:

The first team to score sixty will win, based on my findings in my well researched article. Tonight, look for a tightly contested game. We expect the red hot hand of Kyle Guy to help lead Virginia to 60 first and thus securing its first national title for the Commonwealth. This game will surely be a defensive struggle. The Red Raiders allow only 58.8 points per game and the Cavaliers allow only 55.5 points per game.

Virginia is the better shooting three point shooting team and this will help, likely being forced to take outside shots late into the shot clock. One stat line that is in Texas Tech’s favor is the fact that although it turns the ball over more than Virginia (12.1 per game versus 8.9) is that when they force a turnover they’re more likely to score. The Red Raiders average 17.4 points per game off of turnovers. The Cavaliers average 12.4 points per game off of turnovers.

Possession, free throws and transition buckets will be very important tonight.

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