After the Huskies beat St. Joseph’s, Villanova, Iowa State and Michigan State, I said that while I didn’t want to guarantee victory for the Huskies (after all, they were the first 7 seed to make the Final Four in 30 years), anything could happen if they continued their hot play. Guess what, they did just that and, after a shaky start (as has been their way in this tournament) they beat the number one seeded Florida Gators to advance to the NCAA Tournament finals!
I was at my parents’ house when this game started, and my dad has “1980s Cable” as I have dubbed it, which doesn’t have TBS. My dad doesn’t seem to care that they’re the Super Station, and that they know comedy. He doesn’t want the channel, and that’s it. Unfortunately, this is the first year that the Final Four has ever not been broadcast on network television, so it’s a good thing I brought my iPad when I went home for dinner.
Anyway, these two teams had met before this year. In fact, when the Huskies beat the Gators in December, they were the last team all season to do so. Florida went on to win 30 games in a row after that, and they started this game like they were ready to get their revenge. Florida was simply too big, and their full court press was suffocating the Huskies. At one point, UConn went over five minutes without a field goal, and trailed 16-4 fairly early in this game. Shabazz Napier couldn’t get his shot going, and was having trouble creating offense for his teammates too. All of a sudden, the Huskies defense tightened up, some shots started dropping and the Huskies had pulled to within 16-15. They eventually overtook the Gators and led 25-22 at the half.
UConn stayed hot to open up the second half and, mostly on the backs of Ryan Boatright and and DeAndre Daniels, quickly built a 10-point lead, but Florida remembered they were the number one seed and pulled the game back to an uncomfortable three-point deficit. That’s when Daniels and the Huskies really took over. Shortly after that, the lead was ten, a white guy (Niels Giffey) was dunking (the true sign of the end of any game) and UConn had won 63-53. Daniels was, by far, the best player on the floor, as he put up 20 points on 9-14 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds. Boatright had a solid game of his own, scoring 13 points and grabbing 6 boards of his own. Napier, didn’t have a good game, but eventually got the offense flowing to his hotter teammates, which is a testament of how good a floor general he can be. He wasn’t terrible or anything, scoring 11 points, with 6 assists and 4 steals. Sometimes the rest of the gang has to help the leader in a tough fight, and that’s what the Huskies did tonight.
So who is up next for the Huskies? Well, if you thought a 7 seed making it to the NCAA finals was a big deal, prepare to have your mind blown. On the other side of the bracket, the number 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats knocked off the number 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers tonight. Because of that upset, the final will include the highest combined seeds since seeding began in 1979a, so it really should be a great matchup. To be honest, I was hoping the Badgers would win so that UConn could continue the underdog story, but it wasn’t meant to be. Now, the Huskies will have to contend with Kentucky and all of their freshman. Come monday, we’ll find out who takes home the 2014 crown. Let’s go Huskies!
Check out the boxscore, courtesy of espn.
Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press
- http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=400549978 (back)
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