MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a nice tortoise of an app using a warmish 114-year history, a knack for deliberative basketball along with an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night scaling the final jagged rungs into a pinnacle. When finally it made the closing, agonizing steps in overtime, attained the very top and looked about, it understood a feeling long associated only with others like Duke or North Carolina, the neighboring hares that constantly left it one of the overshadowed.
It was the very first first-time men’s college basketball national champion in 13 years, and may see back through the landscape of one hell of a story. It could see Texas Tech, the finalist Virginia outlasted from 85-77 in that , a group so great it had hit 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 see the carnival of drama that helped it wriggle from doom in life-shortening matches against Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint more difficult, and it could see 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 decades of tortured Marches. Yet right in the front, it might observe the droves in orange and blue in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as noise cascaded from lovers who rarely dared dream of such a thing.
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