It dogged Virginia for a year and three weeks - following the Cavaliers through sweat-soaked practices, hostile arenas up and down the East Coast, on talk radio and pundit-driven TV, and in their own, doubt-filled, uncertain minds.
That was the case when the Cavs were bounced by UMBC a year ago, and it was the case again Monday night.
Kyle Guy, the Cavaliers junior guard, was heartbroken after their historic loss in the first round last season.
On Sunday, Baylor won the NCAA women's tournament, its third such victory under head coach Kim Mulkey.
Virginia won the game 85 to 77.
And now, there are no more questions.
A key call went against Davide Moretti resulting in a Texas Tech turnover and it was all Virginia from there as they made an 11-0 run to put the game away. "I feel like it is something we will have to process later because right now we are just trying to enjoy it".
Jerome, who had 16 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in the game, noted the remarkable unity of this Virginia team when reflecting on the win. Culver's close-out out wasn't quick enough to prevent Hunter from setting his feet, squaring his shoulder and dropping in the biggest shot of his career. For bandwagoners like me, it'll fade in another twenty minutes or so, and I'll be left with the memory of Culver dusting De'Andre Hunter, one of the best defenders in college basketball, with 35 seconds to go in order to give the Red Raiders the lead-a highlight for the ages no matter the final score.
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"That's what he does: he shoots the crap out of the ball", said teammate Ty Jerome, who penetrated to zip a one-handed pass to the far corner to set up one of Guy's second-half 3s. "I'm just thinking this is a dream come true". They have a really, really good team.
The poise showed up earlier in the tournament, too.
It was a long year for the Virginia Cavaliers after becoming the first No. 1 seed ever to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Texas Tech took down Michigan State Saturday night in the Final Four by a count of 61-51 to advance to its first national championship game in program history.
"I think everyone on the team, as soon as the buzzer sounded (last year) and we were done with the press conference, we knew we all had the same goal in mind for next year, and that was to win a national championship", said Guy. No, I wish it wouldn't have happened in some ways.
The Cavaliers are going into the championship face-off as a one-point favorite, according to CBS Sports. "Not a lot of people get along like we do, so to share this moment with them is unbelievable". Because obviously he didn't get one.
"It's a great story", Bennett said.