Connecticut Basketball Advances to National Championship Behind Stellar Defense

By Ryan Ratty
Kevin Ollie UCONN Final Four
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Connecticut Huskies are going to the National Championship. After a 63-53 victory over the top-seeded Florida Gators, the Huskies will be playing Monday night against the Wisconsin Badgers or Kentucky Wildcats. Although he is only in his second season, head coach Kevin Ollie has guided this team through the NCAA tournament. Five games down, one to go.

The Gators started off hot by going on a 7-0 run to start the game. A few minutes later, Florida led 16-4. After that, Ollie called a timeout and got this team organized. Connecticut would go on a tear, and they never looked back. UConn did not have their best offensive showing, but they got it done on defense. SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin looked uncomfortable the whole game with the stellar defense of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright.

The two star guards set the tone for this UConn squad. The Huskies held the Gators to a field-goal percentage of .388. Florida does not have a star scorer like UConn does, but they were never able to find any rhythm on offense. The Gators only had two players to score double-digits, and that proved to be the difference in this game. Wilbekin only scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting, and Michael Frazier II only had three points.

Napier did not have his best game as he only scored 12 points. In fact, this was Napier’s worst game of the tournament, but UConn didn’t really need him tonight. DeAndre Daniels was huge, and he had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Husky fans have ridiculed Daniels in the past, but the junior forward has had a great tournament for the Huskies to go along with Napier’s dominance.

If the Huskies continue this defensive play, there is no telling who is going to stop them. With the defensive toughness of Napier and Boatright, and the presence of Amida Brimah in the paint, the Huskies may have the best two-point defense in all of college basketball. Coach Ollie has this team playing their best basketball at the right time. Connecticut will get its chance Monday night to raise banner No. 4.

Ryan Ratty is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL or add him to your network on Google.

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