You couldn't write a script like this.
At least, that's how the famous catchphrase goes. Just a year removed from an embarrassing defeat to 16-seeded UMBC in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the Cavaliers are National Champions.
"VIRGINIA, WITH THE ALL-TIME TURNAROUND TITLE!" pic.twitter.com/pYPmQzreqe— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 9, 2019
The game itself was an absolute thriller, with Texas Tech making an impressive comeback from down double-digits late in the second half. In fact, were it not for a De'Andre Hunter three-pointer with less than thirty seconds remaining, we'd be telling a far different story.
DeAndre Hunter.....BANGGGGG pic.twitter.com/Wgj9XlzRVd— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 9, 2019
Instead, Virginia's resilience was tested, with the likes of Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and Hunter--the core of this team--coming up huge when needed most. Astonishingly enough, this is (for the most part) the same team which was humiliated in front of a national audience just a season ago. Hell, they were down double-digits to 16-seed Gardner-Webb as history flirted with repeating itself.
Instead, Virginia's completed their turnaround title, with Tony Bennett and this cast of stars front and center. The Cavaliers' defensive style is not always the most attractive, but on Monday night these two defensive stalwarts were thrown out of their element. NBA Draft prospects Hunter and Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech delivered time and time again in one-on-one situations.
Come overtime, it was one final run spurred by Hunter, who did not play in that infamous defeat at the hands of UMBC last season. While lacking the brand names, this tournament delivered the ultimate redemption story.
Was Hollywood watching?