NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 04.06.14 EditionPosted by Griffin Wong on April 6th, 2014
March Madness is finally upon us, and we here at RTC are here to make everything a little bit easier for you. From the First Four until One Shining Moment, we’ll be dropping daily tidbits of knowledge regarding the teams in each region.
- Yet again, Kentucky freshman Aaron Harrison advanced the Wildcats with a late three-pointer. Harrison also hit the game-winning three in the Elite Eight against Michigan.
- With Kentucky’s big win last night, the Wildcats will meet UConn in what is definitely an “unlikely title game.” With Kentucky as an 8-seed and UConn as a 7-seed, this is the all-time highest combined seed total in the National Championship Game.
- They love their basketball in Lexington, and the students were sure to celebrate after their Wildcats reached their second championship game in the past three years.
- Kentucky has gone from one of the most frustrating teams in Wildcats history to one of the most loved. Especially considering how this season went until March, winning it all would be incredible for the Wildcats. “It makes me feel good, because last year we were considered one of the worst teams that ever came through Kentucky,” [sophomore Willie] Cauley-Stein said. “Having to be here through the worst and then coming out on top as the best would be crazy.”
- The Harrison Twins got (and deserved) a ton of credit for Kentucky’s run to the National Title Game, but coach John Calipari is looking at another freshman to step up on Monday. The leading scorer on Saturday night with 17 points, James Young could be the X-factor for the Wildcats going forward. “James Young has had 25-point games, which I’ll predict he’ll have in this Monday night’s game,” Calipari said.
- He’s been the guy for Wisconsin this season, and Kentucky made sure it focused on stopping Frank Kaminsky. Though he’s been the Badgers’ best player all season, Kaminsky was held to just 8 points last night.
- Wisconsin had a great shot to get to the National Championship Game, but it came up just short. Up two with just seconds left, Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison hit a three and sent the Badgers packing. “That’s what you’re going to get in the Final Four: a one possession battle and unfortunately it just didn’t fall our way,” [senior Ben] Brust said.
- Senior Ben Brust was disappointed that his team went down last night, but is overall pleased with the season. “I’m proud of this team; I’m proud that we made it this far,” Brust said after the Badgers’ first Final Four appearance since 2000 ended when Aaron Harrison buried a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds to go and Traevon Jackson couldn’t answer on the other end. “Obviously, we know we’re capable of more. But kid made a clutch shot and you’ve got to give him props for that.”
- With this season over, Wisconsin is looking to return to the Final Four next year, as it brings back four out of five starters. his should make people pissed off and hungry going into next season, this offseason,” Badgers center Frank Kaminsky said. “We have a lot to do. We saw what we need to do in the postseason to get here, and we’ll take that going forward and build on what we’ve accomplished this season. We want to be back here next year and we want to win a championship next year. Now that we know we can be contenders, there’s nothing that’s going to stop us.”
- Kentucky defeated Wisconsin by 1 point last night, and the difference was Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson making only two of three free throws when he went to the line in the final minute of the game. Even though he missed a big one in crunch time, Jackson was confident that he had it. “I thought it was good,” Jackson said of the first attempt.
- Many of Florida’s former players and its former coach, Lon Kruger, were in attendance as it fell to UConn last night. Kruger is the only coach other than Billy Donovan to take the Gators to a Final Four.
- With the Gators’ loss last night, Florida student Demetri Stamas won’t be able to cut is hair. Stamas vowed to grow out his hair until the Florida won a title. The Gators graduate four seniors, so Stamas could have a ways to go before he can return to the barber shop.
- Florida’s guards struggled in its Final Four loss to UConn last night. The trio of Scottie Wilbekin, Michael Frazier II, and Kasey Hill combined for just 14 points and 8 turnovers.
- Florida jumped out to an early lead, holding UConn to just 4 points in the first ten minutes, but the Gators collapsed, as the Huskies ultimately prevailed in relatively easy fashion.
- Florida had a great shot to win it all this season, and even though they started four seniors, they will return five underclassmen from this year’s team.
- Many figured that UConn’s backcourt had an advantage over Florida’s, but nearly nobody predicted that the Huskies’ would dominate the way they did. Neither Shabazz Napier nor Ryan Boatright scored more than 13 points for UConn, but they kept the Gators’ backcourt of Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II out of sync, holding them to just 7 combined points.
- It wasn’t Shabazz Napier, but rather DeAndre Daniels who was UConn’s leading scorer en route to the National Championship Game last night. Daniels finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
- The game was played over 1,500 miles away from Storrs, but the UConn students had quite the celebration at Gampel Pavilion after the Huskies downed number one overall seed Florida in last night’s Final Four game.
- Shabazz Napier only finished the game with 12 points, but the senior All-American led UConn to victory with his defense.
- As we noted on yesterday’s Tidbits, DeAndre Daniels told former UConn coach Jim Calhoun that “Everybody’s going to be talking about me after Saturday.” Luckily for the Huskies, Daniels wasn’t kidding.