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MINNEAPOLIS — Virginia, a fine tortoise of a program with a warmish 114-year history, a knack for deliberative basketball along with also an unthinkable splat of 13 weeks ago, spent Monday night scaling the last jagged rungs into a pinnacle. When finally it made the closing, agonizing measures in overtime, reached the top and looked around, it understood a feeling long associated only with other people such as 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 years, and may 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 , a group so great it’d struck on the NCAA tournament like some fantastic wind coming from the large plains of Lubbock, felling Michigan State, Gonzaga, Michigan and Buffalo.
Gaze back from up high, and Virginia could observe the carnival of drama that helped it twist out of doom in life-shortening games against Purdue, Auburn and Texas Tech. Squint more difficult, 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 decades of tortured Marches. Yet right in the front, it could see the droves in blue and orange in U.S. Bank Stadium, reveling as noise cascaded from fans who seldom dared dream of anything.

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