MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a nice tortoise of an app with a warmish 114-year history, a bent for deliberative basketball and an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night climbing the last jagged rungs into a pinnacle. When eventually it made the closing, painful measures in overtime, reached the very top and looked about, it understood a feeling associated only with other people such as Duke or North Carolina, the neighboring hares that constantly left it among the overshadowed.
It was the first first-time men’s college basketball national champion in 13 years, and could see back across the landscape of one hell of a story. It could see Texas Tech, the finalist Virginia outlasted from 85-77 in that , a team so great it’d struck on the NCAA tournament like some great wind coming off the high plains of Lubbock, felling Michigan State, Gonzaga, Michigan and Buffalo.
Gaze back from up high, and Virginia could see the carnival of plays which helped it wriggle from doom in life-shortening matches from Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint more difficult, and it might 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 from Maryland Baltimore County, the nadir of a five decades of tortured Marches. Yet right in the front, it might see the droves in blue and orange in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as sound cascaded from lovers who rarely dared dream of such a thing.
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