NCAA Championship Game 2014: UConn's Blueprint to Beat Kentucky

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NCAA Championship Game 2014: UConn's Blueprint to Beat Kentucky
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When Kentucky and Connecticut face off for the national championship Monday night, we'll be treated to a game that only liars saw coming (OK, aside from the 1,780 ESPN Tournament Challenge players who have evidence to back up their claims).

One of these teams was expected to be here, but it took a wildly circuitous route to reach the national title game. Preseason No. 1 Kentucky has lived on the edge throughout the NCAA tournament, winning its five games by a total of 18 points.

The other was popularly characterized as a one-man team that didn't have enough weapons to contend on this level. While Shabazz Napier has been justly feted for his tremendous seasonto say nothing of his loyalty to his schoolHuskies sidekicks DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright have been every bit as important to UConn's rapid reincarnation.

Napier and fellow seniors Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander are pushing for their second national titles after being complementary pieces to Kemba Walker's magic carpet ride in 2011. The gutsy Huskies have a heavy order to fill, however, in facing down the larger and more hyped Wildcats.

If UConn intends to ensure Kentucky's luck runs out here, there are a set of difficult tasks it needs to accomplish. Let's examine those missions point by point, knowing that even if the Huskies can reach these goals, these two teams will still likely be fighting down to the last possession.

Like cats and dogs, if you'll pardon the pun.


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