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The UConn Huskies Defeated the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Championship Game
March Madness wrapped up in a battle between The University of Kentucky (8 seed) and The University of Connecticut (7 seed). As history predicted, UConn ended the season as champions, defeating UK 60-54, improving to 4-0 all-time in NCAA championship games. The Huskies from UConn have the right to call themselves the best, at least for another year.
Kentucky fought their way to the Championship game in a memorable battle against the Badgers of Wisconsin. John Calipari's team of one and done players were able to outplay Bo Ryan's disciplined, veteran squad who always seem to have a presence in the tournament. Aaron Harrison made the game winning shot with only seconds left on the clock, as he had done in the previous two games as well, after he received a pass from his twin brother Andrew, advancing to the finals for the second time in three years.
UConn came in as the clear underdog against the Florida Gators, who were number one seated team in the tournament. Nobody seemed to have an answer for Florida's defense, which was the story of their season. But if anybody could be the kryptonite to the Gators, it might as wells have been Shabazz Napier. Florida didn't seem like the same team all game, leading to the ending of their 30-game winning streak, which started after their loss to UConn earlier in the season. The Huskies won the game 63-53, a score that nobody would have predicted.
In the championship game, the Huskies came out on fire, determined to keep the Cinderella story alive. Early in the first quarter the Huskies led by as much as 15 points and throughout the game they never lost the led, although UK did make it interesting as they always do. They brought the game within 4 points by the time the first half ended. Until the final couple minutes of the game the score was always close. The Wildcats came within a mere point a number of times but failed to ever take the lead.
Napier, who was the clear leader for his team throughout the tournament was on cloud nine and expressed his love for his team after the game.
"You're looking at the hungry Huskies," said Napier. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us. I see my guys enjoying it, that's the most special feeling ever."
Napier was emotional after the game and the future professional player ended his career at UConn on the best note possible. The star point guard joined an elite group of people to have 125 points, 25 rebounds and 25 assists in the tournament. There were only three others: Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose and Larry Bird.
Perhaps the most import number of the game is 11. That is how many free throws were missed by Kentucky, eventually leading to their 60-54 loss. Coach Calipari was less than satisfied with the result of the game.
"We had our chances to win," said Calipari according to CBS Sports. "We're missing shots, we're missing free throws. We just didn't have enough."
Calipari shouldn't get too down on himself though. He has a knack of obtaining the best high school prospects and creating a formidable team. The Wildcats will surely be back.
However, it is UConn's time to celebrate. This team just won the largest (arguably most difficult) tournament in all of sports. Now all is left is glory...that is until next March.