UConn Stymies Florida Again to Reach NCAA Title Game
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UConn is still dancing.
Take that, Vegas, and your 7-point spread.
No 1 Florida, the only top seed to make the Final Four, was upended Saturday night by the first 7-seed ever to reach the NCAA title game. UConn, despite a slow start, displayed guts and discipline, defeating the Gators, 63-53.
Florida's 30-game winning streak was snapped when they played their worst game of the season. Their senior, Scottie Wilbekin, was an absolute non-factor. He was outplayed by Shabazz Napier, UConn's most prolific player and floor general. Napier poked and prodded the ball and played lights-out defensively. His four steals led to easy transition buckets, and his defense on the Wilbebeast was suffocating. Florida's floor leader was held to a measly four points and one assist.
And the Gators had no answer for Boatright's laser-like passes in timing plays like this:
The score really isn't indicative of how UConn gradually fought back to win this ball game. But fighting back is what got them here, as exemplified by its remarkable finish against St Joseph's in the first round, down by three with a minute to play and without the ball. They won in overtime.
In the semi-final, after trailing 16-4 ten minutes into the first half, the Huskies seemed infected by the jitter bug.
However, UConn, led by DeAndré Daniels and his 20 points, came storming back and outscored the Gators by 22 for the remainder of the contest.
No one talked about Daniels before the game. It's UConn's backcourt who gets the majority of the attention. They deserve it. Ryan Boatright and Napier provide the majority of the dramatics and are excellent backcourt tandem. However, Daniels asserted himself offensively with dunks, jumpers, and timely treys, which helped propel the Huskies.
The Gators, aside from that first ten-minute spurt, never got comfortable offensively. Even when they went big, their beef couldn't control UConn.
Their cumulative effort on this night doesn't reflect the tremendous season they had. 36-3 is nothing to be ashamed of.
Despite Florida's regular season and post-season success, the Huskies are the talk of Arlington, and rightfully so.
Kevin Ollie is on a roll. After succeeding the revered Jim Calhoun, Ollie is undefeated thus far in the post-season. His team is 5-0 and playing in the title game, Monday night, in Arlington, Texas.
Keep in mind, UConn was Florida's last loss.
This wasn't a fluke by any means.