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It’s Kentucky-UConn for NCAA men’s basketball title

Apr 6, 2014 6:44 AM

Kentucky, a vastly undervalued 8 seed and Connecticut, a 7, will be the matchup Monday night for the NCAA men’s basketball championship in Arlington, Texas.

It will mark the first time in 25 years that a team higher than a 4 seed will have won the national championship. Currently Kentucky is listed as a 3-point favorite in most Las Vegas books.

In Kentucky’s 74-73 win over Wisconsin, Aaron Harrison hit the game winning shot for the third straight time in the tourney. This time it was a 3-pointer from NBA range off a pass from his twin brother, Andrew.

The shot gave with 5.77 seconds left gave the Wildcats (29-10) a one point lead. Traevon Jackson had a last-second shot but the desperation jumper rimmed out and again Harrison found himself at the bottom of a dog pile at center court.

Wisconsin (30-8) set a Final Four record by going 95 percent from the free-throw line – 19 for 20. But it was that one miss that cost the Badgers. 

James Young led Kentucky with 17 points and Randle finished with 16, but only five boards to snap his string of three straight double-doubles.

But Kentucky had an answer for Wisconsin’s do-everything 7-footer, Frank Kaminsky, who was held to eight points and five rebounds.

Ben Brust and Sam Dekker had 15 each for the Badgers, who came up a game short of their first appearance in the final since 1941.

Instead, it’s Kentucky going for its ninth national title and second in three years, with an almost completely rebuilt roster from 2012. 

A few hours earlier, Connecticut upset top seeded Florida 63-53, beating the Gators for the second team this season and ending Florida’s 30 game win streak.

Shabazz Napier helped seal this game with about 2 minutes to play when he made two free throws for a 59-47 lead. That margin was the deficit the Huskies (31-8) faced in the opening minutes after a cold shooting start.

The Huskies sidetracked the Florida offense by shutting down point guard Scottie Wilbekin and 3-point specialist Michael Frazier II, who scored a combined seven points.

UConn was impressive on offense, shooting 55.8 percent (24 of 43) from the field against a team that allowed opponents to shoot 39.9 percent this season.

DeAndre Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut, and it was his two 3-pointers in a span of 1:43 that helped ignite the Huskies after they had fallen behind 16-4.

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