Two proud basketball programs will enter, one will walk away a champion Monday night. Credit: Getty Images
There has been a lot of history already made as Kentucky and UConn prepare to fend for an NCAA Championship.
It’s the first time since 1966 that the two combatants for the title had both not appeared in the NCAA Tournament at all the year before. It also represents the highest combined ranking of two finalists, by a sizable amount. Kentucky is a No. 8 seed while UConn is a No. 7.
And there seem to be two different approaches to Monday’s game.
There’s the mature, calculated guard play of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright on Kevin Ollie’s (first ever NCAA Tournament qualifying) squad.
And then there is freshmen-laden Kentucky, led by Julius Randle, playing for another one of John Calapari’s one-and-done operations.
Three members of the Huskies roster, most notably Napier, were a part of the UConn championship a few years ago in 2011. Could that provide the edge?
Ironically, the Wildcats lost to Connecticut in the 2011 semifinals, and are 15-1 over their last three appearances in the most exciting tournament in sports.
Kentucky holds a three-point edge among oddsmakers and judging from the performances of these two squads during the tournament to this point, three points could be the margin.