ARLINGTON — A very exciting and crazy 2014 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament ends tonight in North Texas.
The no. 7 seeded Connecticut Huskies and no. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats are the pairing for the National Championship Game in Arlington, with UConn having the chance to claim its fourth title in 16 years and Kentucky its ninth, second all-time to UCLA’s 11.
Both teams clicked on all cylinders at the right time, and defeated some of the best and most respected teams in college basketball to earn the right to play on college basketball’s biggest stage.
UConn guard Shabazz Napier is the best collegiate player left in the tournament, yet Kentucky has an extensive amount of pro talent on their roster including top lottery pick Julius Randle and the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew. The Wildcats start five freshmen and there is a strong possibility that all will get the opportunity to play in the NBA next year.
As witnessed against Florida, Connecticut has talented players as well, most notable DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, who played extremely well against the top-seeded Gators, combining for a total of 33 points. What has the possibility is the match-up that Kentucky will exploit all night, feeding Randle the ball in the post as he is tough player to guard in the post and might become too difficult for the Huskies to handle.
If the game is close down the stretch, Napier and Harrison are the two key players to watch, as both will showcase their ball handling down the stretch with both teams having to account for where each player is on the court and both thrive in clutch situations.
Both teams have a lot of momentum entering tonight’s game, as both have gotten hot at the same time and have premiere players at the point in Harrison and Napier, yet the freshmen from Kentucky will become difficult to overcome as Randle is playing like a man-child against boys and Harrison seems to have discovered his clutch gene in March. The pre-season no.1 team at the start of the season, Kentucky is a very talented that has finally learned how to play with each other under head coach John Calipari, and if he wins tonight,will go down as one of the greatest—and most polarizing coaches—in men’s basketball in modern history.
While he has had wins vacated at Massachusetts and flopped in the NBA, it seems that “Cal” has finally made his mark in the Bluegrass State. Thanks to Calipari, the Wildcats have the most talented team in college basketball yet again and have finally really played as advertised in this tournament.
Don’t be surprised to see the Cats cut down the nets in “Jerryworld” and claim their ninth title in what should be a great contest.
Prediction: Kentucky 72 Connecticut 68