Texas Tech vs. Virginia National Championship: Have Teams Met in NCAA Tournament Before?

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates with teammates after defeating the Auburn Tigers 63-62 during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The final game of the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is set for Monday, April 8, between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Virginia Cavaliers. Fans and sports historians looking forward to the game should start by looking back to see if the two teams have met in NCAA tournament games prior to this upcoming meeting.

Texas Tech vs. Virginia Tournament History

Stated clearly, there is no history of this match-up because Texas Tech and Virginia have never played an NCAA tournament game before. This will be the first such meeting between the Cavaliers and the Red Raiders. There have been instances in which the two teams could have met, however, if they both could have advanced to that point.

In the 1976 tournament, which was Virginia’s first time qualifying, the Cavaliers and Red Raiders would have met in the Final Four. Virginia lost its opening game to DePaul 69-60. Texas Tech defeated Syracuse 69-56 but then lost to Missouri 86-75.

A decade later, both schools again qualified for the NCAA tournament. Virginia was the five-seed in the East region, while Texas Tech was the 13 in the Midwest. The Cavaliers were ousted 72-68 by DePaul in their first game. The Red Raiders also made an immediate exit, falling to Georgetown 70-64. Just like in 1976, Virginia and Texas Tech would have met in the Final Four.

The 1993 tournament was the first time the two programs were seeded in the same region. The Cavaliers came in as the sixth seed in the East region, while Texas Tech was the 12th seed. The Elite Eight that year could have featured the first-ever meeting of these two programs, but Texas Tech lost its opening game to St. John’s 85-67 and Virginia was ousted in the Sweet 16 71-54 by Cincinnati.

The 2007 tournament spun a familiar narrative, with the potential for a Cavaliers-Red Raiders game in the Final Four. Bob Knight’s Texas Tech squad came in seeded third in East region, while Virginia was the fourth seed in the South region. Both teams lost in the second round. Tennessee sent the Cavaliers home 77-74 while USC defeated the Red Raiders 87-68.

Three years ago was the closest the two teams had come to meeting up prior to Monday night’s game, as Virginia and Texas Tech were not only in the same region that year, but slated to potentially meet in the Round of 32. The Cavaliers, the top seed in the Midwest bracket, did their part by dispatching Hampton 81-45. The Red Raiders, who were the eight seed, failed to live up to their end of the bargain. Texas Tech fell to Butler 71-61 and spoiled the potential first meeting of the two programs.

Both teams qualified for the tournament last year as well, but the Cavaliers became the victim of the historic first-ever one losing to a 16 when UMBC defeated them 74-54. The Red Raiders, who were the third seed in the East, made it to the Elite Eight before being ousted by eventual champion Villanova 71-59. There was the potential for consecutive tournament final match-ups, as Virginia and Texas Tech could only have met in the championship game.

Although the two teams have never met in the NCAA tournament before, the game promises to be a tight contest between two teams which excel on the defensive end. The first NCAA tournament meeting of these two programs could be a memorable one.