8. Connecticut Huskies (31-8) vs. 7. Kentucky Wildcats (29-10) 9:10 p.m. on CBS in Arlington,Texas
If anybody told you that they had Kentucky and UCONN in the title game they lied. Neither team made it to the tournament last year. Kentucky was very sub-par and did not receive an automatic bid, while UCONN was ineligible due to academic controversies. But both teams were able to turn around and lead their teams to a successful season. Kevin Ollie has done GREAT in his first NCAA tournament appearance. While John Callapari keeps showing us why he is known as one of the best college coaches in the profession as of right now. You will be given a brief overview of what to expect in the championship game tonite and the keys to winning for both teams.
Keys to the game for UCONN:
UCONN getting off to a good start-
Even though UCONN has outscored there opponents in the NCAA tournament in the second half by +15 points there is still concern when playing Kentucky. The athleticism and all around play by this cohesive Kentucky team could trouble UCONN’s come back chances. SO they can not let Kentucky jump out to a league and have them playing catch-up all night.
Stealing the ball will be key-
The Kentucky Wildcats are 303 in the COUNTRY in defensive turnover percentage. They commit more turnovers than they force by a landslide. UCONN forced 12 turnovers and held Florida to 3 assists in their win over Florida Saturday. Multiple turnovers by a team can kill a teams momentum. This was evident when the Kentucky’s multiple turnovers led to them being defeated by Arkansas twice this year. Shabazz Napier might be a great offensive player, but the Harrison brother have to watch for him and his stealing ability. He has 12 steals in total in the tournament so far.
Deandre Daniels production-
Deandre Daniels has transformed from sidekick to superstar in a short span! The great athleticism of Daniels will be key to this game. Julius Randle has struggled to guard mobile forwards( Villanova’s Jayvaughn Pinkston and Michigan State’s Branden Dawson). If Daniels can start off the game positively against Randle this could be the key to UCONN winning.
Keys to the game for Kentucky:
Marcus Lee’s Defense-
Now to say that Marcus Lee will be able to deny Deandre Daniels a single point in the championship game would be a stretch. Although Marcus Lee has been able to step up in place of the injured Willie Cauley-Stilen and has produced great minutes for Kentucky. His intimidating athleticism has been able to scare away guards from driving and putting up baby hooks when he is on the weak side. If Lee is able to stop Shabazz with a couple of blocks then he should be able to change the overall momentum of the game.
Offensive Rebounding will be key-
Without the incredible offensive rebounding of this team, Kentucky would not be able to survive this long in the tournament. Kentucky ranks second in the country Offensive rebounding percentage. If they are able to use their front court depth and athleticism to out work UCONN this could be the key to winning this game.
Aaron Harrison avoiding fouls-
Aaron Harrison has a problem and it is known as his greatest flaw. His lack of being able to defend speedy guards. With this flaw hurting his defensive game, he tends to foul to often. He averages 3.5 fouls a game., Saturday he was on the bench more often than to John Calapari’s liking due to his early foul trouble. He almost cost his team the game when he fouled Traveon Jackson on a three-pointer with less than 20 seconds left in a tie game Saturday
Results of Contest: UCONN 87 Kentucky 82:
UCONN is to hot and has a great guard, coach, bench, and composure to defeat the freshman of the University of Kentucky. The front court of UCONN will struggle early, but will later on adjust in the second half and be carried on the back of Shabaz Napier and pull away in the second half.
Tune in tonite and watch the game and see who pulls it out. 9:10 on CBS!