Kentucky’s freshmen five look to shock the nation
After all the bracket busting and heart-throbbing drama, it is once again time to bid farewell to March Madness. As always, it has been an insane spectacle of unpredictable events. While some of my predictions have been painfully off, I am going to make a final attempt in providing a solid prediction for this matchup.
Talk about a matchup of two teams no one expected to see coming this far. It is rare enough that both a 7th and 8th seed make it to the championship game, let alone, both those teams were not even in the tournament last season! Seriously, who wrote the script for this? Well played, Mr. Buffett.
Throw seedings and past performances aside, and in reality there are no two teams who deserve this spotlight more than Kentucky and Connecticut. With Connecticut beating Florida (again) and Kentucky showing up in the clutch to beat Wisconsin, these two underdogs deserve the right to play for the title.
Now I understand that for the casual fan, this matchup may not be the most favored. UConn and Kentucky battling for another NCAA championship? Shocker.
Well, we can only hope March Madness hands us one more treat before leaving us with baseball for the whole summer.
For Connecticut, young coach Kevin Ollie has his boys playing with tenacity on the defensive side. Senior guard Shabazz Napier absolutely blanketed and shut down Florida superstar guard Scottie Wilbekin. Napier’s control over Wilbekin was one of the deciding factors for UConn’s upset win over the Gators.
For the Huskies to beat the confident group of Wildcats, their defense and scoring will have to be pushed up a notch. The Wildcats know how to score the ball, and it will take more than Napier’s defense to contain Kentucky’s squad.
It will be critical for UConn’s DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright to make their presence known from the start in this meeting this evening. Their consistent scoring has helped guide the Huskies this far in the tournament.
Somehow, even with UConn’s impressive play in the tournament and upset of the Gators, many believe Kentucky has the edge in this one.
Rightfully so I must say, as these five freshman starters only look to be growing stronger and smarter every game they play together.
Led by freshman forward and game changer Julius Randle, UConn might have their hands full down low if Kentucky starts to get rolling early on.
The Wildcats are the first group of all freshman starters to play in the championship game since the Fab Five with Michigan. However, these kids might not want to be compared too closely with the Fab Five. This year’s freshmen are looking to actually win a title, not just soak up the fame and attention.
Along with Randle, the Harrison brothers are not exactly that easy to defend either. Both brothers are averaging around ten points per game in the last three games. These points plus Randle’s make up for a large chunk of Kentucky’s scoring.
While Kentucky should avoid trying to keep this game tight, if there is ever a guy you want shooting the ball in the final minute, it is Aaron Harrison. With clutch three point shots in the final seconds of all three of the last games, Harrison has just the confidence needed coming into a game like this. Look for Kentucky to get the ball in his hands if the game stays close to the end.
While the idea of an all-freshmen starting five winning the title still seems hard for me to grasp, Kentucky really is firing on all cylinders. If Napier can get the help he needs from the rest of his teammates, UConn has just as even a chance.
But, since many of my predictions have been hit and miss, take this prediction with caution! Kentucky takes this game 73-64. The freshmen have convinced me.