One year after serving a postseason academic ban for bad grades, and being kicked out of the Big East conference. The Connecticut Huskies were the last ones laughing as they won the National Championship over the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 on April 7.
Shabazz Napier, one of the few to stick around through the firestorm, kneeled down at midcourt as the buzzer sounded, and had tears in his eyes while cutting down the net.
The Huskies led from start to finish, leading by as much as 15 points in the first half.
The wildcats made a rally to cut the lead down to one in the second half, as Aaron Harrison, who had been making clutch 3-pointers, for the Wildcats missed a 3 from the right corner that would of gave Kentucky the lead, UConn capitalized after the miss and were able to pull away.
A big stat that will haunt UK over the off-season is the eleven missed free throws. Kentucky finished 13-24 from the line, while UConn went 10-10. The last two sealing the win with 25.1 seconds left.
The 7th seeded Huskies won the programs fourth national title since 1999. Other titles in 2004, 2011, they were also the lowest seed to win the national title since Villanova 1985 team (8th seed).
Napier, who was a backup to Kemba Walker on the 2011 championship team, finished with 22 points, six rebounds and three assist, he was helped out by Ryan Boatright, who had 14 points and was able to put a clamp down on Kentucky’s freshman Andrew Harrison.
Kentucky was led by James Young who had 20 points, with seven rebounds. Young who also had the biggest highlight of the game, with a monster dunk to start a three-point play and ignite a 8-0 run for the Wildcats.
Kentucky, a team filled with five Freshman starters will now lead in to the off-season with questions on who will return to, if any next year. Julius Randle (10 points, six rebounds) is considered a lottery pick, while twin brothers Aaron and Andrew are considered late first round pick.
If the men’s victory wasn’t special enough, the women’s team ( 40-0) set off another night of celebration with a 79-58 victory over Notre Dame (37-1) for their ninth title on April 8.
These 2 victories for the UConn Huskies are the first sweep of both titles since 2004, when they were the last teams to do it.