MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a fine tortoise of an app using a warmish 114-year history, a knack for deliberative basketball along with also an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night climbing the final jagged rungs to a pinnacle. When eventually it made the closing, agonizing steps in overtime, attained the top and looked about, it knew a feeling associated only with others such as Duke or North Carolina, the neighboring hares that constantly left it one of the overshadowed.
It was the first first-time men’s college basketball national champion in 13 years, and could see back through the landscape of one hell of a story. It could see Texas Tech, the finalist Virginia outlasted by 85-77 in that overtime, a team so great it’d hit on the NCAA tournament like some great wind coming from the large plains of Lubbock, felling Michigan State, Gonzaga, Michigan and Buffalo.
Gaze back from up high, and Virginia may see the carnival of drama that helped it twist out of doom in life-shortening matches from Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint harder, and it could observe clear 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 front, it could see the droves in orange and blue in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as sound cascaded from fans who rarely dared dream of anything.
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