Casual basketball fans would be forgiven for not remembering the last team to win the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. But the last winner also marked a storied comeback following the biggest upset in the tournament's history.
Who won March Madness last year?
Nobody. Both the men's and women's NCAA Tournaments were the biggest U.S. sports events to shut down last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One conference after another canceled their tournaments as the world scrambled to figure out how to navigate the emerging health crisis. It didn't take long for the NCAA to realize it had to follow suit.
Who won March Madness in 2019?
Led by De'Andre Hunter and his NBA-ready game, the Virginia Cavaliers held off tenacious, ferocious Texas Tech for an 85-77 overtime victory to win the 2019 national title — a scintillating victory that came 388 days after a crushing setback that might have sunk a lesser team for years.
The Cavaliers watched a 10-point lead turn into a 3-point deficit before Hunter came to the rescue. The sophomore made the game-tying 3 with 12 seconds left in regulation, then made another with just over two minutes left in the extra period to give the Cavs the lead for good.
After going scoreless for the first 18 1/2 minutes, Hunter, who is now with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks finished with a career-high 27 points.
In 2018, the Cavaliers lost to University of Maryland-Baltimore County. It was the only time a No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
A 1 seed once again in 2019, Virginia fell behind by 14 early to 16th-seeded Gardner-Webb in the opening round, and a nightmare seemed to be unfolding. But this time, they overcame it. Then, they beat Purdue in the Elite Eight when the game looked lost, and did the same against Auburn in the Final Four — getting bailed out by a foul call and Kyle Guy's three free throws with 0.6 seconds left.