March Madness is nearing its end, and so far, the most exciting tournament in sports has lived up to the hype. This was especially true Saturday when AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (known as Jerry World to NFL fans) hosted both Final Four games, featuring Florida/UConn and Wisconsin/Kentucky. The top-seeded Florida Gators and No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers both lost in upset games to the seventh-seeded Huskies and eighth-seeded Wildcats, respectively.
It's hard to determine which loss is worse, but the Gators certainly have a strong case. As pointed out by @NOTSportsCenter:
The basketball Gods gave UF a free pass to the title game by seed (16, 9, 4, 11, & a 7), and the #Gators ripped it up and peed in their hand— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) April 6, 2014
Florida tanked their final game, losing 63-53, marking the first time all tournament they were unable to reach 60 points. Fortunately for them, there was not a lot of attention on this game as it had the lowest viewership for a Final Four game in over 10 years.
Florida started off the game fairly strong, putting up a 16-4 lead, but then gave a up 21-6 point run to UConn to finish the half. Florida was never able to regain the lead in the second half as UConn's defense locked them down. Florida struggled the entire game shooting, finishing with only 19 baskets on 49 attempts. The Gators seemingly had no solution on how to adjust and adapt to UConn's strategy.
The Gators were led by seniors Patric Young and Casey Prather, who had 19 and 15 points respectively. Not only were they the only two to shoot better than 50 percent, but they also made more than double the number of baskets that the rest of the Florida team made (13 compared to six).
The Huskies were led by junior DeAndre Daniels, who had 20 points on the day. He and three other players all managed to enter double-digit points on their way to victory. The Huskies as a whole made 24-of-43 baskets.
Of course, given the situation for the Gators and the venue, the comparisons to the Dallas Cowboys were inevitable.
UConn intercepts ball from Florida, officially making Gators the honorary home team in Cowboys Stadium tonight.— The Fake ESPN (@TheFakeESPN) April 6, 2014
One of the more interesting non-basketball related story lines to this game was just how restless and irritable the fans were at this game. It all started in the first half when Jerry Jones was booed after being shown on the stadium's monster TV screen over the court. The booing didn't stop there as multiple other celebrities were shown on the big screen and all got the same treatment:
Jerry Jones gets booed. Dwight Howard gets booed. Drake gets booed. Johnny Manziel gets booed. Lesson: Dallas *hates* famous people.— Andrew Unterberger (@AUgetoffmygold) April 6, 2014
Seeing as how this is nowhere near the most embarrassing moment Jones has suffered at the hands of the big screen, it probably just rolled right off his back. His mind was probably preoccupied with more important things:
Dallas sports fans say Final Four the first time they’ve been able to watch games at Cowboys Stadium and not worry about a 4th quarter.— The Fake ESPN (@TheFakeESPN) April 6, 2014
With the Husky victory, it marks the first time since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1984 that a No. 7 seed team has made it to the final. They are set up to play the No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats, who are only the fourth eighth-seeded team to make it to the final. The last time a No. 8 seed made it, they lost to, of all teams, UConn.
As for Florida, this loss is a huge letdown for the school, especially following a poor year by their football team. Four of their starters were seniors who played their last game one game too soon. This loss also marked their first loss since the beginning of December (30 games). Ironically, their last loss came to the very same UConn Huskies.