An All-Time Turnaround

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An All-Time Turnaround

The trophy presentation to the Virginia Cavaliers as they celebrate their win. The Cavaliers defeated  Texas Tech in the championship game on April 8th.

The trophy presentation to the Virginia Cavaliers as they celebrate their win. The Cavaliers defeated Texas Tech in the championship game on April 8th.

The trophy presentation to the Virginia Cavaliers as they celebrate their win. The Cavaliers defeated Texas Tech in the championship game on April 8th.

The trophy presentation to the Virginia Cavaliers as they celebrate their win. The Cavaliers defeated Texas Tech in the championship game on April 8th.

T.C. Etherton, Copy Editor

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Virginia continues to make history.

 

Just one year after the biggest upset in college basketball history, Virginia is on top.

 

The Virginia Cavaliers turned a dreadful loss in last season’s tournament into their first-ever NCAA championship this year. The Cavs seemed to defy the odds in almost every game they played in the NCAA tournament, but in the end, they came out on top.

 

Just last season, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) pulled off the upset of all upsets, as they took down the number one overall seed as a sixteen seed. Not only did UMBC take down the Cavaliers, they handled them, as they outscored UVA 53 to 33 in the second half after being tied at halftime.

 

This game changed the world’s perception of Virginia, as most experts and analysts now thought of Virginia as another team that couldn’t do any damage in March. But the Cavaliers didn’t let that phase them.

 

Virginia reloaded, having a nearly identical core as the team that fell to UMBC the year before, UVA posted a 29-3 record heading into the NCAA tournament where they would be awarded a number one seed for the second straight season.

 

Virginia’s first game was against Gardner-Webb (GBU), and it was clear that the Cavaliers were remembering last season’s tournament opener at the beginning of this one, and Gardner-Webb was well aware. The Bulldogs of GBU jumped on Virginia early and went into halftime with a six-point lead. The team was feeling the same feelings they had felt the year before, and they were not going to go down like that again. Virginia outscored GBU by twenty in the second half to take the victory.

 

Virginia’ next opponent was the Sooners of Oklahoma, this would provide to be one of UVA’s easier win of the tournament as it was their only other double-digit victory. After advancing, their sweet sixteen matchup was the Oregon Ducks. This game would be a down to the wire, something Virginia would get used to. The game was close until Virginia was able to put the game away with free throws in the final minute, and the Cavs escaped with a four-point victory.

 

The elite eight matchup would be the Purdue Boilermakers, an instant classic. Purdue, led by point guard Carsen Edwards, would prove to be a worthy competitor. The Boilermakers and Cavaliers would trade blows all game until it looked as if Purdue was going to take the win. Purdue was up 70-68 with six seconds left, and Virginia’s Ty Jerome was on his second free throw and in order to tie the game and force overtime(OT), he would have to miss it. He does and the ball finds its way to midcourt and the game seems over, but a great basketball decision by Virginia point guard Kihei Clark makes him throw a quick pass to Mamadi Diakite as he converts a quick jumper as time expires. In OT, it was all Virginia, as they outscored Purdue by five and found their way to the Final Four.

In the Final Four, Virginia found themselves matched up with the Auburn Tigers. The game was a back and forth affair until it seemed Virginia had it all wrapped up as they had a ten point lead with under three minutes to go, but Auburn wasn’t done, going on a run to take the lead with 30 seconds left to play. After a missed attempt by Virginia, the game was all but wrapped up as Auburn had a one-point lead at the free throw line with under ten seconds to play. The Tigers went one for two at the line and Virginia advanced the ball upcourt before they were fouled. So with 1.6 seconds remaining, Virginia had the ball on the sideline down by two. The ball is thrown to Kyle Guy who attempts a three for the win, the shot is missed, but he was fouled. So Guy goes to the line with the championship game on the line. He sinks all three, putting the Cavaliers up one with less than a second to go. Auburn’s heave at the buzzer is off the mark and Virginia survives another game.

 

On championship Monday, it was a battle of first-timers, as Virginia’s matchup with the Red Raiders of Texas Tech was the first time in either’s school history that they had made it to the final night of college basketball. The game was another tight one, as the team went back and forth all game. With under twenty seconds to play, Virginia finds themselves down in a do or die situation yet again, as they are down by three. After drawing in the defense, TY Jerome kicked the ball out to Deandre Hunter who hit the three to force OT. Then in OT, Virginia took over, and outscored them 18-9 in the overtime period, making them the new champions of college basketball, the first time in school history.

 

In one season, Virginia went from the laughing stock of the tournament to the tournament champion. One of the biggest turnarounds of all time in any sport.

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