MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a nice tortoise of an app using a warmish 114-year history, a bent for deliberative basketball and an unthinkable splat of 13 months ago, spent Monday night scaling the final jagged rungs to a pinnacle. When eventually it made the closing, agonizing steps in overtime, reached the very top and looked about, it understood a sense associated only with other people like 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 winner in 13 years, and may 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 good it’d struck on the NCAA tournament like some fantastic wind coming off 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 twist out of doom in life-shortening games from Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint harder, and it could see 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 might observe the droves in blue and orange in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as sound cascaded from fans who rarely dared dream of such a thing.
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