Connecticut Edges Past Kentucky To Become The NCAA National Champions
The UConn men's Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 on Monday night to secure the national title, just one year after the Connecticut program was barred from March Madness due to faltering grades.
The University of Connecticut beat the Kentucky Wildcats on Monday to secure the NCAA men's college basketball championship.
The Huskies squeaked out a 60-54 victory, driven in large part by the 22 points scored by senior guard Shabazz Napier.
And Kentucky's 11 missed free throws would come back to haunt them. "We had our chances to win," said Kentucky coach John Calipari. "We're missing shots, we're missing free throws. We just didn't have enough."
The win was seen by UConn fans and players alike as vindication, coming just one year after their program was banned from participating in the tournament they've now won.
Connecticut suffered a year-long postseason suspension in 2012 for coming up short academically, with their student athletes scoring below the Academic Progress Rate benchmark.
Shabazz Napier, unlike many of his teammates at the time, stuck with the program. Coach Kevin Ollie convinced Napier to stay during the post-ban exodus, a move that seems to have panned out for the newly minted national champions and their star player.
Napier, addressing the crowd and the national audience immediately following the win, defiantly proclaimed, "This is what happens when you ban us."
The UConn women Huskies will play for their own championship on Tuesday. If they win, it will be the first sweep of national championships since the last time UConn did it in 2004.