DeAndre Daniels and Aaron Harrison set up UConn vs Kentucky final

时间:2019-11-16  作者:吕呦  来源:美高梅  浏览:167次  评论:20条

Just as everyone predicted before the start of March Madness, a seventh-seeded team will face an eighth-seeded team in Monday's NCAA Men's Division I Championship Game. Saturday night's national semifinals began with . Next, , setting up one of the most unlikely championship games, at least seedings-wise, in NCAA history.

Although the results of both games, on paper, looked like complete upsets, neither game was shocking considering how well UConn and Kentucky had been playing throughout the tournament. , many college basketball experts criticized the selections saying that the seedings didn't truly reflect the strength of some of the schools. The runs made by the Connecticut Huskies and Kentucky Wildcats, while they may not have fully vindicated them, certainly haven't proven them wrong. Kentucky, despite coming into the tournament with an unimpressive 24-10 record, have looked liked the best team in the tournament at times, while UConn, who were 26-8 following a loss in the ACC title game, have been riding the hot hand of leading NCAA tournament MVP candidate Shabazz Napier.

Not that UConn has been relying solely on to advance. If it were that easy, the Florida Gators, who limited the Huskies guard to just 12 points, with four of those coming off of free throws, would be preparing for Monday's game rather than booking return trips home. Unfortunately for them, Napier was able to contribute elsewhere, collecting 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 4 steals. Meanwhile, , Florida's focus on shutting down Napier, although beyond understandable, freed up forward DeAndre Daniels, who scored a double-double, 20 points and 10 rebounds, as UConn began to pull away from the tournament favorites.

This was the most humiliating thing to happen to Gators fans since Tim Tebow couldn't even pass Mark Sanchez on the New York Jets' quarterback depth chart.

Ultimately though, . At the start of the game, the Gators looked as invulnerable as advertised, going on a 16-4 run before a Napier-assisted three from Daniels broke the Huskies out of their scoring rut. From there on out, UConn increased the defensive pressure, limiting the top overall seed to 1-1o three-point shooting, forcing them into 11 turnovers and allowing them to make just an almost unfathomable 3 assists. By the time a Napier free throw increased his team's lead to 12 points, the biggest lead any team has had over Florida this season, . A game that seemed destined to be a blowout Florida win early ended with the Gators down by 10 points at the buzzer and the Huskies needing just one more win to clinch their fourth championship in school history.

The Kentucky Wildcats, as seems to have been the case all tournament-long, didn't have it quite as easy with the Wisconsin Badgers. Despite the fact that Kentucky was able to limit Wisconsin's best player, forward Frank Kaminsky, to 8 points, Saturday night's second game was a tense, back-and-forth affair all the way up to the last few possessions. With 16 seconds left in the game, Badgers guard Traevon Jackson hit two of three free throws, the miss being Wisconsin's only missed free throw of the game, putting the Badgers up 73-71.

Surprisingly enough, Kentucky head coach John Calipari didn't call a timeout, instead letting the play continue. Maybe it would have been unnecessary, what play could he have drawn up that would have been better than "just get the ball into Aaron's hands"? , and he repeated that feat on Saturday, hitting a long-distance shot assisted by twin brother Andrew, that gave Kentucky a 74-73 lead with 5.7 seconds left.

Aaron Harrison had not attempted a three-pointer all game, until this one. That's a pretty solid ratio.

This left just enough time for Jackson, perhaps attempting to make up for the missed free throw that accounted for the difference in score, but his would-be game-winning jumper rimmed out as time expired. It was a perfect ending of the game for Kentucky, seeking its ninth NCAA championship, or it would have been had , providing the media with a storyline it no doubt will hammer non-stop until Monday night's tip-off.

Alex Poythress, earlier in the game, giving rather than receiving pain.

So that's how a No. 8 team ended up advancing to the NCAA Championship Game to face a No. 7. in what might be one of the least-shocking shocking pairings in March Madness history. While both squads had disappointing regular seasons, it hasn't been that long since either team had won the championship. Certainly Shabazz Napier hasn't forgotten, as he was part of that Kemba Walker-lead Connecticut team that won it all in 2011. During that run, in a NCAA Tournament, . So, let's not pretend that Monday's game isn't going to exactly be George Mason vs. FGCU: these aren't plucky overachievers here, these are two hugely successful college programs.

In fact, UConn and Kentucky's recent tournament absences were partly due to extenuating circumstances. and the 2012 retirement of Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun, who was eventually replaced by Kevin Ollie. Meanwhile, John Calipari lost the entire starting lineup of that 2012 Kentucky team, and them some, to the NBA Draft. Calipari, as is his M.O., replaced them with an all-new lineup that, unusually for him, ended up being a disappointment as they not only missed the NCAA tournament altogether . He clearly did a better job of scouting while putting this team together.

It's almost a best-of-all-possible worlds as far as CBS and the are concerned. On Monday night, the biggest college basketball game of the year will feature two teams that have made unexpected underdog runs without actually being underdog programs. The Stephen F. Austins and Mercers of the world tend to be rating-killers after all. Unless you happen to be a Florida or Wisconsin supporter, the only downside is that we have to wait an extra day before finding out how this all turns out.