BELIEVE: Virginia Wins First NCAA Title in OT Win Over Texas Tech...

The NCAA Title went for the first time to Virginia last night in an OT win over Texas Tech. The Virginia Cavaliers beat the Texas Tech Raiders in Minneapolis, 85-77. It's the first NCAA title for Virginia and a historic win.

Virginia's last appearance at the Final Four was back on 1984. They also never played for the championship. Additionally, the night was historic for Texas Tech as they never made it to the championship or played in the Final Four. 

Virginia's coach Tony Bennett said, "I just want a chance at a title fight one day." He has a poster of Rocky Balboa and the win last night was like a scene out of Rocky. Last year, No. 1 seed Virginia lost to No. 16 seed team UMBC. The loss by 20 points last year left morale low. That's why last night's win was important.

Guard De'Andre Hunter who led with 27-points said, "We were destined to win. We had to." But, it was Beard's words that summed up the win, “We have a saying, ‘the most faithful win,’ and these guys stayed so faithful.”


Don't Look Back

Outstanding player and guard Kyle Guy, said about last year's humiliating loss, "That's a dark place that I think a lot of us were in. There was humiliation, embarrassment for ourselves and our families and the program. To be able to redeem all that, and give this program something that's never happened before is all that I could ever want." It was also hard because Hunter was out of the tournament with a broken wrist. And, all they felt for the past year was failure.


And for Texas Tech, last night was just as significant despite the loss. The Raiders had only one national championship and that was for women's basketball under Sheryl Swoopes in '93. While Texas Tech is known mostly for football, this year's tournament was big. Under coach Chris Beard, the team reached the Elite Eight in 2018. But it was a tough time.


Texas had 5 seniors graduate between 2017 and 2018. Players Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney are both transfers. And Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase are returning seniors. Team members had to push hard to get to the tournament. And, the Red Raiders refused to stop.
Despite their loss, the Raiders' efforts paid off. With Texas Tech and Auburn stepping up, teams like North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas and Louisville were out. Fans were scratching their heads over their incorrect Elite Eight and Final Four brackets. And, when you're playing solid like Virginia, Texas Tech and Auburn were despite injuries and setbacks, a chance is all you need to shake things up.


Be Ready for Change, Look for Your Window and Seize Opportunities

So what's the biggest lesson here? For one, Virginia had a humiliating loss last year. And, the time off also meant time to prepare. Whether it's work, school or the big game, when an opportunity comes, grasp it. But, even if you lose, don't beat yourself up and give up. Instead, step up and learn where you made your mistakes. Work on your weaknesses and get back in. Be ready for the next chance. 

For Texas Tech it's a little bit different. With 5 seniors retiring, there was no way to rely on "the old way of doing things." Texas Tech had 2 transfers and 2 seniors that had to not just step up but work together to win. Sometimes you have to work with new people and rely on new ways of doing things. But, don't let that stop you.

Recognize where you can support each other and work as one team. Texas Tech had to fight hard past Virginia. Texas Tech's coach Beard said, "I've never seen a more mentally tough team." And, that's where the hard work pays off. Despite a loss, Texas Tech made Virginia work hard for the title last night. The measure of a man is how he rises up in the face of adversity. Let the character test help you grow stronger.

And, believe the possibilities - All things are possible with God

Father God, thank you Lord for these opportunities of wins and losses. Thank you for how you teach us to step up to the plate despite trials and adversities. Help us stay focused on You and the windows and opportunities You provide. We praise You and give You all the glory in Jesus' name, Amen.
Remember, the winner is the one who perseveres and is ready for the next challenge despite the obstacles. Keep reading your Bible for encouragement. It will get better. God knows every play!