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Achievement. Redemption. A bunch of games with, like, really crazy endings. That's the story of the 2018-2019 University of Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball team, who just won the school's first ever national championship. They reached the pinnacle of men's college basketball just a year after reaching the reverse pinnacle, having become the first #1 seed to ever lose in the tournament's first round back in 2018. But this year was all glory, thanks to last night's narrow win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

That the game went to overtime is fitting for a couple of reasons: following two straight miracle last-second victories by Virginia in the previous two rounds, there was no way this wasn't going to be a thriller (and even in this game, they needed a clutch 3-pointer just to force overtime). And the tournament more broadly had a ton of close games over the last few rounds. Turns out the disappointingly low number of upsets early in the tournament meant better, closer games between top squads later on.

The tournament MVP was Virginia's Kyle Guy, though shout-outs to his teammates De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome, both of whom will likely be in the NBA next year. Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to tournament favorite Duke and their demigod star, Zion Williamson, they had a close loss to Michigan State just before the Final Four.

On the women's side, the Baylor University Lady Bears won their third national championship on Sunday night with a similarly thrilling one-point win over defending champ Notre Dame. Last year, Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbawale was the hero, with game-winning shots in both the Final Four and the Finals; this year, it was her missed free throw at the end of the Finals that doomed the Fighting Irish to a second-place finish. C'est la vie and so on.
"For anyone who has ever goofed up just absolutely massively, look to the University of Virginia men's basketball team for inspiration. Last year, they had the worst March Madness loss ever when they lost in the first round as a #1 seed, and this year, they're the champs."
Virginia pulled off a couple of miracle wins before their merely unlikely come-from-behind win in the Finals. Check out this wild ending to the fourth quarter in their Elite 8 game: just to make it to overtime, they needed to A) miss a free throw on purpose, B) get the rebound, C) make a pass nearly the length of the court, and D) make the game-tying shot, which they did, at the buzzer, over the outstretched arm of a 7'3" dude.
The end of college basketball's postseason tournament means the NBA Playoffs are about to begin. Games start this Saturday, but because each matchup is a seven-game series, the playoffs are going to be going on for a while (like, well into June). The Golden State Warriors are, as per usual, the favorites, but there are a few teams that have a chance to give the Silicon-Valley-adjacent two-time defending-champs a run for their Bitcoin.
Don't worry, no matter how bad you have it, you can always redeem yourself, as long as you're a group of extremely athletically-gifted college athletes.
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