by Jules Gonsoulin
After a tournament full of surprises and upsets, the seventh-seeded UConn Huskies men’s basketball team faced the eighth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats. The Final Four followed the same pattern as the rest of the tournament. Most expected the number-one-overall seed Florida Gators to best UConn, and the number-two seed Wisconsin Badgers to beat Kentucky. However, Connecticut and Kentucky managed to win their games and continue to a championship game that beat expectations, exciting down to the final buzzer.
It was not a high-scoring game, but rather a defensive battle. Connecticut jumped out to an early lead, and barely slowed down as the game progressed. The team led by as many as 20 points early in the contest. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut’s star senior guard, shined in the (presumably) final game of his college career. Napier led his team with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals, as the Huskies won their second national championship in four years, 60-54.
This year marked the first time in ten years a school managed to sweep the national championship in both the men’s and women’s championship tournaments, as the UConn women bested the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a battle of unbeaten teams. The last time this happened was 2004. The school that managed to win both tournaments in that year was of course, Connecticut.
While Kentucky did not manage to cut down the net this year, analysts predict the Wildcats will soar higher even next year. Most of their freshman class will go to the NBA draft, but Head Coach John Calipari’s recruiting staff always reels in a top freshman class. Look for Kentucky, as well as Duke, Florida and North Carolina, to return to title contention next year.