MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a nice tortoise of a program with a warmish 114-year history, a knack for deliberative basketball along with also an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night scaling the last jagged rungs into a pinnacle. When finally it made the closing, agonizing measures in overtime, attained the very top and looked about, it knew a feeling long associated only with others like Duke or North Carolina, the neighboring hares that always left it among the overshadowed.
It was the first first-time men’s college basketball national champion in 13 decades, and could see back across the landscape of one hell of a narrative. It could see Texas Tech, the finalist Virginia outlasted from 85-77 in that , a team so great it had hit on the NCAA tournament like a fantastic wind coming from the high plains of Lubbock, felling Michigan State, Gonzaga, Michigan and Buffalo.
Gaze back from up high, and Virginia could observe the carnival of plays which helped it wriggle from doom in life-shortening matches from Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint harder, and it could observe back to March 2018, when Virginia became the first No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed, a bewildering 74-54 thud against Maryland Baltimore County, the nadir of a five years of tortured Marches. Yet right in the front, it might observe the droves in orange and blue in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as sound cascaded from lovers who seldom dared dream of anything.
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