Title trophy in hand, Virginia has look of perennial power

Kyle Guy foreground and the Virginia Cavaliers celebrate after winning the NCAA tournament final on Monday April 8

Otherwise, the only loss to graduation is Jack Salt, a role player off the bench.

Then Virginia almost got knocked out of the tournament in the Elite 8 against Purdue on March 30, but a late comeback gave Virginia an overtime win.

It made ideal sense that Brandone Francis reaffirmed an underdog's mentality for the Texas Tech Red Raiders heading into Monday night's national championship game against the Virginia Cavaliers. "He scored a career high tonight and what a night to have it".

Hunter drained a 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds left to force the first overtime since 2008, when Mario Chalmers' miracle helped Kansas top Memphis in San Antonio.

Before bagging a step-back, 16-foot fadeaway of his own, Jerome zipped a right-handed pass from the block to Guy in the left corner for an in-rhythm 3-pointer to push Virginia ahead 53-43 at the 10-minute mark.

"The game was everything we thought it would be", Beard said. Hunter's defense dictated Jarrett Culver's success in the national championship while the two went blow for blow in this heavyweight battle. The basket ended a Texas Tech seven-point run.

Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale sheds tears after women's national title loss
In 2012, then-junior Brittney Griner helped Baylor go 40-0 and put the Lady Bears back atop the women's basketball world. Plus, two nights earlier, UConn had an nearly identical lead (64-55) on the Irish with 7:55 left before falling 81-76.

Next, against Purdue, when, trailing by 2, the Cavaliers intentionally missed a free throw, got the ball back and fed to Mamadi Diakite, who beat the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

"Just seeing what he did this year, getting the MVP, you've got the MVP of the National Football League talking to your team, so it always gives us motivation and confidence, and just seeing everything he did kind of motivated us to go out", sophomore Jarrett Culver said.

Hunter said that he tried to be aggressive in the first half, but his shots weren't falling. "I just stayed aggressive and the shots started dropping". And for a while, it was, until the Red Raiders' thunderous charge was halted by Virginia guard De'Andre Hunter. The Cavaliers were relentlessly smooth on the attack, finding cracks against a Texas Tech defense known for its No. 1 rating in adjusted efficiency and its ability to switch defenders seamlessly in order to throw brick wall after brick wall up on opponents. I don't know of anything else that would allow these guys to be able to handle this situation, to play through stuff and to have a perspective and a poise and resiliency unless they went through something that hard. Hunter's lone miss in the second half came with just 1:11 remaining in the second half on a jump shot blocked by Norense Odiase.

Virginia had another nail-bitingly close game on Saturday, when they took on No. 5 seed Auburn in the Final Four. It was his only shot in overtime. He's so great full for this program. "It's a great win for our coach, and we're happy to be here". His game-high 27 points surpassed his previous high of 23 versus Gardner-Webb in the first round of the tournament March 22.

Ty Gerome also had himself a game with 16 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. It almost proved costly for Virginia. The game, unsatisfied to follow a clean trajectory, whipsawed back to Texas Tech, which got a triple from Davide Moretti and a layup from Culver to take the lead for the first time since the last minutes of the first half.

The last dance belongs to Virginia! After trading free throws, Virginia led 65-61. They combined for 67 of Virginia's 85 points, and all made the All-Final Four Team along with Mooney and Culver. They had to deal with things, come together and tighten in a way - they were a joy to coach.

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