Only three games remain in the 2014 NCAA tournament, and you don't want to be that person that misses the action, right?
March Madness has lived up to its name thus far. Thousands upon thousands of brackets were ruined as a result of the round of 64, and the teams doing the bracket busting continued on to make noise in future rounds.
One such team is the University of Connecticut Huskies.
Will their run stop when they take on the Florida Gators in the Final Four? That, along with Kentucky's matchup with Wisconsin, will likely rank among the top games of the tournament.
You definitely do not want to miss them.
- Download the Printable Bracket
- Follow the Latest Bracket Updates Live
- Play the Free Bracket Challenge
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV|
|Sat, April 5||(7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS|
|Sat, April 5||(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Wisconsin||8:49 p.m.||TBS|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS|
What to Watch For
Shabazz Napier vs. Florida's Depth
Shabazz Napier has led UConn to the Final Four after the team was pretty much forgotten about when the tournament started. A fringe NBA first-rounder at the start of the tourney, Napier has likely skyrocketed up draft boards because of his incredible performances.
SportsCenter's Twitter account points out that Napier's prowess during March Madness mirrors that of former Huskies great, Kemba Walker:
Napier will be tasked with converting efficiently against a Florida team that has held tournament opponents to 55 points or less three times. The only opponent to score more than 55 was UCLA (68). Needless to say, it won't be smooth sailing for Napier and his teammates.
To overcome Napier's prowess at scoring the ball, the Gators will need to rely on their own depth to get the job done. Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, Michael Frazier II and Patric Young form a strong core with the talent to keep their 30-game winning streak alive.
Napier obviously isn't going to outscore the four Gators combined, but if his contributions are large enough—say 30 points and six or seven assists—the Huskies might find themselves in the NCAA final.
Kentucky's Young Talent
A supremely talented group of freshmen led the Kentucky Wildcats to the preseason No. 1 overall ranking, but inconsistencies during the regular season made them a No. 8 seed in the tournament. That seeding is now negligible, however, because this team is playing like the squad everyone thought they'd be.
Zac Ellis of SI.com hones in on why Kentucky has been so good during this installment of the NCAA tournament:
Coach John Calipari’s team might be the best rebounding club left in the tournament. In its last three wins, Kentucky has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 9.3 boards per game. Julius Randle alone has boasted four straight double-doubles in tournament play. That advantage is especially obvious on the offensive end, where the ‘Cats boast the country’s top offensive rebounding percentage, per KenPom, at 42.5 percent. In fact, Kentucky has grabbed at least 10 offensive boards in each of its last three victories.
Their ability to rebound is important, but their ability to score when it matters is why the Wildcats are even in the Final Four in the first place. Just in case you missed Aaron Harrison's heroics, here is the reason why Kentucky is in the Final Four:
James Young, Randle and the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) are the driving forces behind a team that looks unstoppable right now. They've taken down top teams like Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan in this tournament, and I wouldn't be surprised if they won the whole thing.
You don't see many 7-footers with three-point range, but Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky has shown this tournament that he is difficult to stop from deep.
He dropped just 14.1 points per game during the regular season, but he has upped that mark to 18.5 points per game during the NCAA tournament. He is 4-of-13 from downtown in four tournament games, but his season percentage of 37.8 shows that he is consistent from distance.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller recognized that Kaminsky is a nightmare to guard, via Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports: "Frank Kaminsky is the reason Wisconsin's in the Final Four. He's a difficult matchup. Got to be one of the best offensive players who plays college basketball, for sure."
Because of his ability to stretch the defense, Kaminsky will provide matchup problems for Kentucky. Julius Randle will likely be tasked with guarding him. Randle is a strong interior defender, but keeping tabs on Kaminsky will be an entirely different animal.
Kentucky has more depth and overall talent, but Wisconsin can steal this one if Kaminsky has his way with the Wildcats' defense.