National Championship Rewind: The Almost Game

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Virginia won it all, but it almost ended in the semifinals.
Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter flourished in the final game and a half of his Cavalier career, starting with the second half of the Auburn win. ~ Photo courtesy Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

When the Virginia basketball team won the National Championship a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be along for the ride. From Columbia to Louisville to Minneapolis, I watched live as the Cavaliers pulled off their historic run to the program’s first title.

Other than a few selected replays and specific situations that I picked out for some follow-up articles back during the run, I hadn’t revisited all the games like many fans. I revisited Gardner-Webb, Oklahoma, and Oregon in July. I watched Purdue for the first time in early October.

For a variety of reasons, I had never rewatched the two Final Four games. I just savored the magic of it all and tried to tell people who asked about it in person what it was like to be on press row when the miracle happened against Purdue or what it