Kugler: Bennett, Beard Do It "The Right Way"

Kevin Kugler explained why Virginia won the national title Monday – and why Texas Tech isn't going anywhere

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 09, 2019 - 8:52 am
Tony Bennett Chris Beard National Championship

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Despite concerns about an unsexy matchup, Virginia and Texas Tech authored one of the most exciting title games in recent memory, with the Cavaliers outlasting the Red Raiders 85-77 in overtime.

Don’t be surprised if these programs meet deep into the tournament again in the future.

“Both of them do it what I think is the right way,” Westwood One play-by-play voice Kevin Kugler said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They have built a program – and I think that’s important in college basketball right now. Programs sustain regardless of the players or player that come through the program. Tony Bennett in 10 years has established a program at Virginia. The players are going to come and go, but at the end of the day, he’s got a program. I think we’re seeing that with Chris Beard at Texas Tech as well.”

Indeed, one year after leading Texas Tech to the Elite Eight, Beard led the Red Raiders to the first Final Four in program history.

“I don’t expect to see Texas Tech drop off,” Kugler said. “It’s never easy to get back to the Final Four. That’s not what I’m predicting. But I do predict that Texas Tech is going to be a player on the national scale as long as Chris Beard is there – because he has a system. He has a program in place. I think that’s a good sign for both of these programs in the future. It will not surprise me at all if at some point over the next seven or eight years Chris Beard has Texas Tech back in this position in another Final Four. I think he’s that good of a coach, and if he stays at Texas Tech, I think Texas Tech can compete once again to make it back to a Final Four – which is something not a lot of people were ever saying about Texas Tech basketball.”

Texas Tech has as many tournament wins in the last two years (eight) as it had in its previous 79.

“His turnaround has been remarkable,” Kugler said of Beard, “and unless he leaves Texas Tech, I don’t expect it to go anywhere. I think Texas Tech will be right in the conversation in the Big 12.”

And across the nation. Yes, Texas Tech came oh-so-close to winning it all Monday, shooting 10-of-30 from three and 13-of-15 from the free-throw line against Virginia. The Red Raiders actually led in the final seconds of regulation but couldn’t hang on.

“Look, they had to hit threes to stay in this game – and they were able to hit some threes late in that game to get back into it,” Kugler said. “But man oh man, it just felt like all year long Virginia was sort of a team of destiny, and they figured out a way to get it done. I was surprised anybody got a double-digit lead in this game just because of the way these two teams defend. What Virginia was able to do in that overtime was get a little momentum going and then forcing Texas Tech to send them to the line. The ability to come through in the clutch at the line the last two games here in Minneapolis is why Virginia is the national champion right now.”

Click below to listen to Kugler’s interview in its entirety.