MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The college basketball season will end Monday night with two defensive-minded teams battling to become a first-time champion.
Texas Tech entered the national semifinals by allowing just 84 points per 100 possessions, a defensive efficiency score on KenPom that ranks as the best the advanced-stats site has tracked dating to 2002.
Virginia arrived ranked fifth nationally by surrendering 88.7 points per 100 possessions, a metric that factors out Virginia’s slower offensive pace and offers a better measure of performance than scoring averages depressed by low-possession games.
Both defenses were strong in the second half of their semifinals. Texas Tech allowed Michigan State to make 8 of 24 shots, while Auburn made just 9 of 26 shots against Virginia.
It will also be a matchup of the past two Associated Press men’s national coaches of the year, with Texas Tech’s Chris Beard winning this year’s award and Virginia’s Tony Bennett claiming it last season.