Behind a 31-point explosion from sixth man Donte DiVincenzo, the Villanova Wildcats toppled the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the biggest game of the season to the national championship.
But as the offseason begins, we're taking one moment to reflect on the campaign with a final Top 25.
Five members of B/R's college basketball crew—David Gardner, David Kenyon, Jason King, Kerry Miller and C.J. Moore—were asked to submit a ballot for the final ranking. A first-place vote was worth 25 points, followed by 24 for second and so on.
The NCAA tournament had a considerable influence on the positions, but an early loss didn't necessarily remove a team.
7. Texas Tech
8. North Carolina
12. West Virginia
14. Michigan State
20. Wichita State
T-22. Kansas State
24. Florida State
25. Ohio State
Biggest Surprise: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers
As if there were any debate: The Missouri Valley champions climbed to the most unexpected place in the final Top 25.
Loyola-Chicago entered the tournament as a highly respected No. 11 seed, and a buzzer-beater gave the Ramblers a minor first-round upset of Miami. And they kept winning.
Down went Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State en route to the Final Four. Michigan put together a late charge that the Ramblers could not match, sending Porter Moser's team home.
Loyola's run will be remembered for its dramatic finishes, since its first three victories came by a combined four points. With Clayton Custer, Marques Townes and Cameron Krutwig all potentially returning, the Ramblers might not be done yet.
Biggest Disappointment: Virginia Cavaliers
The 2018 men's NCAA tournament will first be recalled as "the year a No. 16 seed finally defeated a No. 1."
Virginia holds that inglorious title following its 74-54 loss to University of Maryland Baltimore County. The top-seeded Cavaliers shot a miserable 41.1 percent from the floor and 18.2 percent from three.
UMBC, meanwhile, pulled away for the stunning blowout victory thanks to a 53-point outburst in the second half. This season, 15 teams failed to score 53 on Virginia in a whole game.
Yes, UVA was without star sixth man De'Andre Hunter. But his absence only contributed to a complete letdown by the Cavaliers, who seemed ready for the long-awaited breakthrough in the Big Dance under Tony Bennett.
One on the Edge: Penn State Nittany Lions
A late-season slide prevented Penn State from sneaking into the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid. The Nittany Lions missed three chances at signature wins against Purdue and Michigan over a 14-game stretch, so they ended up in the NIT.
"Champions" still has a nice ring to it.
Penn State toppled Temple, Notre Dame—the first team "out" of the March Madness field—Marquette, Mississippi State and Utah to earn the NIT title. It was the program's second NIT championship over the last 10 years (2009).
Thanks to that performance, the Nittany Lions finished the season 26-13 and 26th in our Top 25 voting.
What Could've Been: Miami Hurricanes
Miami received tough news at the end of January: Star guard Bruce Brown Jr. would be sidelined for at least six weeks because of a foot injury, which required surgery.
Although he struggled for part of the season as a shooter, he provided regular all-around contributions: 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks. In games he was healthy, Miami was 14-5.
The Hurricanes, who were projected as a top-15 team, still qualified for the NCAA tournament. But there's no guarantee Miami beats Loyola if Brown is healthy. His value as a defender and passer would've been key against a motion offense and stout defense, though.
Had the South Region played out the same way, the Canes never would've met No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 4 Arizona or No. 5 Kentucky. It's possible that a Brown-led Miami team could've put together the same run Loyola did, but the Ramblers made it happen.