March may be over, but the madness hasn't gone away.
NCAA tournament brackets were shattered well before the Final Four got underway, but that didn't mean the upsets would end.
No. 7 UConn got the party started with a crushing win over No. 1 and top overall seed Florida to continue their monumental run. That performance was followed up by No. 8 Kentucky, who once again ended with a gutsy three-point shot from Aaron Harrison that would have counted in the NBA.
With the games going final and the national championship game set, here's a look at the results and a breakdown of the matchup on Monday night.
|No. 7 UConn||No. 1 Florida||63-53|
|No. 8 Kentucky||No. 2 Wisconsin||74-73|
National Championship Information
Who: No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 7 UConn
When: Monday, 9:10 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Live Stream: NCAA.com
Breakdown of National Championship
Navigating through the NCAA tournament is never easy, nor predictable.
All four No. 1 seeds came in after great seasons. Michigan State and Louisville came in as No. 4 seeds and trendy picks to win it all. One thing that every one of those programs has in common now is that they were all taken down, with UConn and Kentucky combining to defeat six of them.
How rare is it to have a No. 7 seed or higher win the tournament? It's only happened one time in NCAA tournament history, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN:
UConn trying to become only the 2nd champ seeded 7th or higher to win it all. Villanova was a #8 seed in 1985— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 5, 2014
The two programs also have a history at the NCAA tournament. In fact, the last time the Wildcats lost in the tournament was to the Huskies, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
Kentucky has won 11 straight NCAA Tournament games... Its last loss? UConn in the 2011 Final Four.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 6, 2014
UConn has ran the gauntlet in the NCAA tournament with huge wins over the likes of Iowa State, Michigan State and Florida. Much of that success is due to Shabazz Napier, a do-it-all guard who has been both a floor general and elite scorer for the program.
If that seems like a similar story, that's because it is. The Huskies tore through the 2011 field en route to a national championship behind Kemba Walker, who is now a star for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Which team will win the national championship?
While that comparison won't be going away anytime soon—especially if UConn wins it all—Napier spoke about getting out from Walker's shadow, per John Marshall of The Associated Press:
"I just want to go out there, like I always say, and be myself. ... At the end of the day, he (Walker) took that team to a national championship and I want to do the same. But, I'm going to do it a different pathway and I'm going to be myself."
On the Kentucky side, the replenishing of rosters is a constant, but the crop in 2014 has proven to be potentially one of the best after what appeared to be a disastrous season.
The immense success is due in large part to future NBA lottery pick Julius Randle and Aaron Harrison. Randle has recorded double-digit points in every game and posted a double-double in the first four rounds.
As for Harrison, the frosh has proven to have ice in his veins with his game-winning shots. The 19-year-old guard spoke with Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal about his huge shots, saying simply, "You can't be scared to miss. I'm not afraid to miss."
Kentucky is now on the cusp of its second national title in three years. UConn has a chance at three in the last decade.
Neither was expected to be here; now neither expects to lose. Either way, it will be a historic national championship game for one of college basketball's great programs.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.