No matter the outcome, college basketball fans will get to see a bit of history when the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders face off during Monday’s men’s national championship game.
This year marks the first time Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team has ever advanced past the Elite Eight, though the Lady Raiders won the women’s basketball title in 1993. Virginia’s men’s team had made it to the Final Four twice before — losing to North Carolina at the Spectrum in Philadelphia in 1981 and to Houston (and All-American center Akeem Olajuwon) in 1984.
“We are proud, and excited, for Texas Tech, but behavior like this will not be tolerated,” the city of Lubbock said in a statement. “We want Red Raider fans to support the team and celebrate lawfully and responsibly. We are on the national stage so make Lubbock proud.”
As a result, Texas Tech took the preventive step of canceling all classes for Monday night and Tuesday. Classes will resume Wednesday.
Regardless of the excitement this year’s NCAA tournament has offered, expect Monday’s game (without a stand-out star and featuring two teams known for their defenses) to be among the lowest-rated men’s national championship games in recent memory, though it will almost certainly beat out the 9.2 rating Villanova drew in its win over Michigan last year on Turner.
Ratings for Saturday’s Final Four were something of a mixed bag for CBS. As the network proudly announced on Sunday, the two games averaged an 8.8 overnight rating, up 13 percent from last year on TBS, TNT, and TruTV, which averaged a 7.8 overnight rating. But according to Sports Media Watch, the ratings were down 15 percent from the 10.4 ratings CBS drew in 2017.
When: Monday, April 8
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Time: 9:20 p.m. Eastern tipoff
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)
Radio: 94.1 WIP via Westwood One (Kevin Kugler, Clark Kellogg, John Thompson, Jim Gray)
OnlineStreaming: CBS All Access (requires subscription), NCAA March Madness Live (requires authentication), Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirectTV Now, Fubo TV (all require a subscription).
Coverage on CBS begins at 8:30 p.m. with the Championship Central pre-game show, which will feature Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Greg Gumbel and Seth Davis. Among other things, the show will air new interviews with Virginia head coach Tony Bennett and Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard.
Things kick off even earlier on CBS Sports Network, which will air March Madness 360 at 6:30 p.m. featuring Adam Zucker, Brent Stover, Jon Rothstein, Wally Szczerbiak, Khalid El-Amin, Pete Gillen, Steve Lappas, Swin Cash, and Gary Parrish.