That’s exactly what the Cavaliers did Monday night, 388 days later, toppling Texas Tech in overtime, 85-77 in the national title game in Minneapolis to capture the school’s first-ever basketball championship.
De’Andre Hunter scored a game-high 27 points, and Kyle Guy won Most Outstanding Player, adding 24 points.
After a shaky start in their opening game against Gardner-Webb, in which they trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Cavaliers got only one reprieve from tight games throughout the tournament. They put the clamps on an Oklahoma team that had scored 95 points in the first round, holding the Sooners to just 51 in a 12-point, second round win.
Virginia got a tough test from 12-seed Oregon in the Sweet 16, trailing by three points with less than five-and-a-half minutes to play before finishing on an 11-4 run to win 53-49. Then, they needed a miraculous buzzer-beater to force overtime against Purdue, withstanding a 42-point onslaught from Carsen Edwards and holding on for an 80-75 win in what was perhaps the game of the tournament.
The Hoos advanced to the title game with a controversial win over Auburn in which Virginia guard Kyle Guy was fouled while attempting the potential game-winning three, inside the final second, down two points. Guy sunk all three free throws, giving Virginia a 63-62 win.
Virginia finishes the season with a school record 35 wins. The Cavaliers did not have to beat any team higher than a 3-seed to win the title, the first time that has happened since UNLV won the title in 1990.