Lowest scoring NCAA basketball championship games: Will Texas Tech-Virginia set new record?

How low will they go?  

That’s the big question for Virginia and Texas as they prepare for Monday’s Division I men’s basketball national championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The Cavaliers rank first in the nation in scoring defense (55.5 ppg.). The Red Raiders rank third (58.8 ppg). Both teams have a methodical style on offense, too, and that has wondering if the over/under — which is at 117 points — might be too high.  

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With that in mind, here are the lowest-scoring NCAA men’s basketball championship games. The five lowest scores all happened before 1950, so we added the pre-shot clock era from 1950-86 and the shot clock era from 1986 present.  

These are the lowest scoring championship games in NCAA tournament history. 

Lowest scoring title games (all time)  

YEAR WINNER SCORE LOSER SCORE TOTAL
1941 Wisconsin 39 Washington State 34 73
1939 Oregon 46 Ohio State 33 79
1943 Wyoming 46 Georgetown 34 80
1944 Utah 42 Dartmouth 40 82
1949 Kentucky 46 Oklahoma A&M 36 82

The record setter: Kirk Gebert scored 21 points for the Cougars in the 1941 national championship game, but it wasn’t enough against the Badgers. Wisconsin led 21-17 at halftime. If it’s like that at halftime Monday, then we might have something.  

Lowest scoring title games (1950-86)  

YEAR WINNER SCORE LOSER SCORE TOTAL
1983 N.C. State 54 Houston 52 106
1957 North Carolina 54 Kansas 53 107
1980 Louisville 59 UCLA 54 113
1981 Indiana 63 North Carolina 50 113
1963 Loyola Chicago 60 Cincinnati 58 118

The record setter: The Wolfpack’s legendary upset came in a game where they shot just 39 percent from the floor. N.C. State, however, committed six turnovers to pull out the upset against Houston.  

Lowest scoring title games (shot clock era)  

YEAR WINNER SCORE LOSER SCORE TOTAL
2011 Connecticut 53 Butler 41 94
2014 Connecticut 60 Kentucky 54 114
2002 Maryland 64 Indiana 52 116
2010 Duke 61 Butler 59 120
1992 Duke 71 Michigan 51 122

The record setter: Butler shot 18.8 percent from the floor in the ugly loss to the Huskies, who were much better at 34.5 percent but shot 1 of 11 from 3-point range. It’s the only championship game in the shot clock era where the teams failed to score 100 points.  

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