Another March is in the books, with a new college basketball team reigning supreme. March Madness brought everything it usually does this year and more. We saw Davids take down Goliaths. We saw Cinderellas make a run for the title. And luckily, we didn’t see any bones this year.
The National Title game featured two college basketball powerhouses: the University of Kentucky Wildcats against the University of Connecticut Huskies. These two teams are known for bringing great basketball teams to the court each and every year. The two teams now have a combined 12 national championships and have produced NBA stars John Wall (UK), Anthony Davis (UK) and Rudy Gay (UConn).
Kentucky and Uconn found themselves in uncharted waters this year. The team usually find itself as one of the higher seeds in the tournament. However, this year, UConn was a seven seed and Kentucky was an eight. No one in their right mind could have guessed that these two teams would be the ones standing at the final game in Dallas.
UConn was the last team standing when all was said and done and they had the honor of cutting down the nets. They will forever have the title as the 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball National Champions, but were they really the best team in the nation?
If you were to tell me that the Huskies would be National Champions after their showing against Louisville on March 8th and again on March 15th, I would’ve called you a fool. The Huskies got absolutely embarrassed by the Cardinals 81-48 in their regular season finale. Yes, the eventual National Champions lost by 33 points only one month prior to winning the title. UConn got a chance to redeem themselves a week later against the same Louisville team that had just annihilated them. How could a team that had been embarrassed this badly possibly have any momentum going into the tournament?
Let’s go back to the very beginning of the tournament. The Huskies found themselves matched up with the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. UConn got a pretty lucky draw with this one right? Wrong. Saint Joe’s gave the huskies all that they could handle. With a star like Shabazz Napier on your team, you should have no trouble against a small school. UConn needed overtime to beat the Hawks.
It is sort of funny to me how the eventual National Champions struggled as mightily they did. Isn’t your first round game supposed to be one of your easier games? I mean c’mon, its UConn vs. Saint Joe’s. Four national titles to Saint Joseph’s zero. After seeing this performance, there was no way they were going to or even deserved to make it past the next round.
UConn went on to beat a shorthanded Iowa State team and a Michigan State team that played its sloppiest game in all tournaments. At the end of the day, the Huskies will always be the 2014 National Champions, but I think luck had more to do with it than skill. They got lucky to escape an underdog Saint Joe’s team. They got lucky that one of Iowa State’s top players, Georges Niang, fractured his foot and was unable to play in the tournament. They got lucky that they found a Michigan State team that played its sloppiest game of the tournament and a Florida team that had their worst shooting game of the season.
Of course, with winning a championship in any sport, you need a little luck. We saw not the best team win the National Championship this year, but the luckiest.