NCAA Championship 2014: Connecticut’s Win Epitomizes All That Is Right With College Basketball
The Connecticut Huskies finished off an enthralling NCAA tournament run with a 60-54 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, winning their fourth national championship. The victory really epitomized what made the Huskies such an entertaining team this season, and showed that college basketball doesn’t have to be run by the team with the best freshmen.
In what will be his last college basketball game, Shabazz Napier was once again the deciding factor. He compiled 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, and the rest of the Huskies really followed the high tempo he set.
Aside from just fighting exceptionally hard throughout the game, Connecticut became a rarity in modern college basketball by starting one sophomore, two juniors and three seniors. Nowhere on their roster could you find a player that will be leaving college early, and the results were evident in the complex offensive system that the Huskies ran as opposed to the Wildcats’ emphasis on isolation and individuality.
This Huskies team was one that fought together from start to finish this season. They climbed out to a an 11-1 start before struggling during the middle portion of the season and catching fire at the beginning of the AAC tournament. Head coach Kevin Ollie was able to get his players to give their all no matter the circumstances, and this dedication was displayed by junior guard Ryan Boatright, who played through a sprained ankle.
There are few people who would say that the Huskies was the most talented team in college basketball during the 2013-14 season, but that is just part of made them so great. This team was always more focused on playing a team system and fighting for each other, rather than securing a good status for the 2014 NBA Draft – something that is largely missing from college basketball today.