You really have to hand it to UConn and Kentucky. Both teams were seeded fairly low, and both teams had to fight like hell to get to the finals.
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In UConn's case, the Huskies had to overcome an underrated St. Joe's, old Big East rival Villanova, Iowa State, Michigan State and Florida.
Iowa State might have been tougher if the team had been fully healthy, but it was no fluke that Michigan State and Florida seemed flustered at the end, or that UConn seemed to get stronger as the games went on. It's a tremendous team.
So is Kentucky.
We don't mean to diminish John Calipari with what we're going to say. He's done a remarkable job with this group, which seemed headed for disaster until very late in the season.
But this article points out something pretty amazing about what Kentucky has done, which is to basically do everything right in winning time.
It hasn't mattered if it was Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan or Wisconsin. Kentucky has been nearly perfect in the closing minutes of those games.
Calipari has done a tremendous job, but you can't coach that, not really.
If you could, every team would be packed with Jordans and Laettners.
What's really amazing isn't just that Kentucky is doing this, but that it's happening with freshmen.
At this point, it's time to revisit an old bit of conventional wisdom: for years we were told that Michigan's Fab Five would never be matched, much less surpassed.
Both have happened. This Kentucky team is much better than the Fab Five, and much more appealing as well. Michigan's freshmen bragged and swaggered and never won anything. This team has been through a lot and has come together magnificently. Whatever it ultimately achieves this season, it will be earned rather than expected.
Well, other than by Kentucky fans. But the team itself deserves respect.
You would think at some point, though, that someone would think to guard Aaron Harrison when the clock winds down.
Like most teams, UConn is going to have a really tough time dealing with Kentucky's inside game. But here's the thing: UConn's defense is so disruptive that it might make just getting the ball inside extraordinarily difficult.
It's a bit early for this, but still: regardless of Monday night, Kentucky stands to lose all six starters (counting the injured Willie Cauley-Stein), plus Alex Poythress and possibly Marcus Lee, to the draft. Seniors Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood have never been starters much less stars, but they're gone too.
Another great class is coming in - 6-9 Trey Lyles, 6-11 Karl Towns, 6-5 Devin Booker and 5-9 Tyler Ulis.
As usual, everyone is pegged to leave after next year except for Ulis, as there's not much of a call for 5-9 point guards in the NBA.
When he was at Duke, we saw great potential in Alex Murphy but he decided it was in his best interest to transfer.
It didn't even occur to us until after Florida lost that he had a tough end to his season. We would have pulled for the Gators more had we remembered.