What a phenomenal time to be a fan of the University of Connecticut. The 2014 Men's College Basketball season comes to a close tonight and our Huskies are one of the last two teams standing. Again.
Shabazz Napier, his status as a UConn legend already cemented, will be playing the final game of what has been an incredible, incredible collegiate career. Napier and the rest of the team's seniors, except for graduate transfer Lasan Kromah, have the opportunity to be the first UConn class to win two National Championships. Pretty cool.
John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats stand in the way of UConn and a historic fourth national championship which would overflow with historical significance. But I won't open that door until the time is right.
Best known for starting five freshmen and being ranked #1 going into the season purely based on their incoming freshman talent, the Wildcats have beaten some really good teams in the tournament. They present an unmatched array of talent that is, like UConn, playing their best basketball at the right time even though they were left for dead after a rough stretch of regular season. For the fifth time in this tournament, UConn's opponent is favored to win.
If we win tonight, it really shouldn't be a big surprise. UConn is in the Finals because they just beat two teams which probably 2/3 of the country picked to win it all- teams which presented match-up problems that UConn just wouldn't be able to handle.
This team has the character and discipline to battle their way into any game, having overcome 9+ point deficits in 4 out of 5 tournament wins. They do it with suffocating defense on the perimeter and incredible team effort on the rebounding front. Ryan Boatright, Neils Giffey, and Shabazz Napier have been coming down with crucial contested rebounds; DeAndre Daniels has 8+ rebounds in each of our last three games and is averaging 7.5 rebounds in his last 10 games.
Speaking of DeAndre, we are probably seeing him in a UConn jersey for the last time tonight. His recent rise has been a beautiful, beautiful thing to watch. The turnaround jumpers, exquisite mid-range touch, and low post presence are a skill-set that NBA GM's salivate over. Oh- and he can shoot the three with consistency. The fact that he's putting it all together in the games that matter most on the sports biggest stage against high-caliber talent all but confirms his departure after this season. Onward and upward DeAndre, great effing run.
We always knew this team was special, but tonight they have a chance to make history. Rarely does a second place team get remembered, just ask Bills fans, but no matter what this was a season we will never forget. The 2014 season ends tonight, but its legend will live on forever.
LET'S GO HUSKIES!!!!