From a pure basketball standpoint, this has been a thrilling NCAA tournament. The action has featured a good number of surprises and memorable moments. With Final Four play from the AT&T Center in Arlington, Texas set to begin on Saturday, we can only hope more great college hoops are on tap.
Though many of the most celebrated stars aren't currently in the tournament, there are still intriguing prospects set to display their talents on Saturday.
UConn Huskies' Shabazz Napier has been perhaps the tournament's best individual player. Through four games, he is averaging 23.25 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
His all-around play has been the engine driving UConn's run to Arlington.
Watching the weekend's semifinals and Monday's national championship is a must. Here's how you can tune in:
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Sat, April 5||(7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Sat, April 5||(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Wisconsin||8:49 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live|
|Mon, April 7||Semifinal Winners||9:10 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live|
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Florida Will End UConn's Magical Run
Napier and head coach Kevin Ollie deserve a lot of credit for guiding this team this far. Almost no one would have predicted that the Huskies would reach the Final Four.
Per Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports, Ollie talked about his trust and the connection to his "unpaid coach":
He gets those guys together. The big word that we use in our program is ownership. He's taken ownership of his team. I call him my unpaid coach, and that's for a reason, because he has a coaching mentality. Me and him think the same. I couldn't think of another point guard that I really give the keys to and let drive the bus, because he does it wonderfully for me and my program.
Players like Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels have really stepped up to provide the support Napier has needed to find success.
All that aside, the Florida Gators are one of the best—if not the best—defensive teams in the nation. They have held all but one tournament opponent under 40 percent shooting from the field and under 60 points.
Patric Young anchors the interior defense, and Scottie Wilbekin commands the perimeter. Florida's tenacity, physicality and senior leadership will push it past UConn on Saturday.
Kentucky Is on a Mission
At one point this season, the Kentucky Wildcats looked like one of the biggest regular-season flops in recent memory. The awesome recruiting class hadn't lived up to its hype. By Week 19, the Wildcats had fallen out of the AP Top 25.
When the postseason rolled around, Kentucky seemed to flip a switch.
How much have the young Wildcats grown since the tournament began? Take a look at this stat from ESPN Stats and Info:
Kentucky is 3-0 in games decided by 5 pts or fewer in NCAA Tournament. Wildcats were 2-8 in those games before Selection Sunday.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 4, 2014
Wisconsin is a well-coached team by Bo Ryan. It has a star in Frank Kaminsky, who can be a tough matchup because of his size and shooting ability. But Kentucky has too much length and talent at every position.
Because the Wildcats are now playing as a unit, they will beat Wisconsin and reach the national championship.
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