College basketball will end tonight as the National Championship game is here. 7th seeded Connecticut will play 8th seeded Kentucky at 9:05pm in Dallas to take home the crown.
UK will look to hang championship #9, just two back of the all-time leader UCLA, would be their 2nd in three years and John Calipari’s second. UConn looks to win their 2nd title in four years and would be their 4th in school history, first for head coach Kevin Ollie.
Looking at the Huskies, they have put together one of the better NCAA runs being the first 7th seed in the finals since Villanova in the 1970′s. UConn knocked off St. Josephs, Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State and most recently Florida. Entering the game with a 31-8 overall record, UConn is a team who can play lock down defense. Their guard play of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are NBA caliber players. Inside they were a team who struggled in the paint but, like Kentucky have resurrected and have been out rebounding their opponents and putting up offense they aren’t used to seeing.
Currently averaging 71.9 points, 35.4 rebounds, 12.6 assists and shoot .44% from the field as a team. Led by Nappier who scores 17.9 points, grabs 5.7 rebounds and hands out 4.5 assists per outing. A lot believe he will be hard for the Bigger UK guards to defend.
Big guy who enjoys stepping Deandre Daniels is playing the best basketball of his career during the tournament. Grabbing double-doubles and scoring over 20 points a few times. He averages 13.2 points while teammate Boatright scores 12.1 a game.
The issue UConn will run i to as most teams do against Kentucky ill be rebounding and defending the paint. UK is much bigger inside and much stronger. They will be able to bully the paint which means the Huskies will look to shoot the three ball tonight.
For Kentucky, they have had a even better run to the final game. Knocking off Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin. They are the first team in NCAA history to beat three of the previous seasons final four teams. Funny thing is, no one had them getting here going into the tournament.
Tonight, UK will look to feed the paint and dominate. They are much bigger and stronger, can jump over the UConn big guys and must do all of that. UK can not let the Huskies keep the paint stats close because that would result in a loss in my opinion. If Kentucky does their job of rebounding, they win.
Kentucky guards have learned to play defense and the smaller, quicker guard will not be a factor. I expect Aaron and Andrew Harrison, James You g to have a very good night as they are all taller and can get their shots off.
Calipari will make sure those guards feed the bigs, Dakari, Julius and Poythress as they will be able to draw fouls and the thing front line of UConn.
Another key will be the depth of Kentucky as UConn is not deep and should be able to run them to death. Expect to see good minutes from Dominique Hawkins, Marcus Lee and maybe even a Derek Willis sighting.
My prediction. Kentucky wins their 9th National Championship 76-68.