University of Virginia wins NCAA Men's basketball championship

The University of Virginia is the NCAA Division I champions!

Virginia has now completed a story that will last the ages. They have gone from their scarring upset in the first round of the tournament last year to being champions of the whole division.

Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77. Both teams were led by even, strong performances. For Texas Tech, five different players managed to score more than 10 points. Virginia had three players score above 15, and another player grab 10 rebounds. As an exceptional defensive team, other players, especially Mamadi Diakite, managed to make their presence felt even if it didn’t translate into statistics.

Twice during the game, it appeared that Virginia would run away with near 10 point leads, only for Texas Tech to bring it all the way back with a barrage of threes, gaining their own leads of a few points. The game stayed close until the very end of regulation. The scoreboard read 68-65 in favor of Texas Tech when De’Andre Hunter put in a corner three for Virginia to tie the game.

The game headed into a rare championship overtime where Virginia got a lead and never relinquished it. When the buzzer sounded, celebrations commenced in Charlottesville, Virginia. Students stormed the court of their John Paul Jones arena where a watch party was being held, and students and residents took over the streets.

In particular, De’Andre Hunter had a widely praised performance by scoring when it mattered and putting the team on his back when they were slowing down. Kyle Guy won Final Four Most Outstanding Player for his massive contributions to Virginia winning the title.

“Cardiac Cavs” has been a name that’s been attached to the Virginia team and their journey to becoming champions this year. It’s accurate — from the Purdue buzzer-beater or the Auburn free throws to Hunter’s clutch three in the dying seconds of regulation in the championship game, the Cavaliers never gave their fans an easy time breathing.

For many Virginia fans, the first feeling when the game was over was perhaps as much relief as it was joy. The stain of their loss to a 16th seed last year was a source of memes and shame, but now that loss only adds to the incredible feat the team pulled off this year. And for a community and campus that’s had a few difficult years from the Unite the Right rallies to racist yearbook photos, the trophy won’t just be a new piece in the trophy case, but something that has and will continue to bring their community together.