Three weeks ago, 68 teams were selected to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and given a chance to win the national title. Now, only two teams remain.
It’s been an unlikely run for both of Monday’s contestants in the college basketball national championship game. Kentucky is looking to make history and become the second No.8 seed to win it all. A victory for UConn would make them the first ever No.7 seed to take home the title.
Before this year, every championship game featured at least one team that was seeded No.3 or better. After selection Sunday, Kentucky’s title odds were set at 33/1, and UConn came in at 66/1.
The game is set to begin at 9:10 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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Even as the lower seed, Kentucky is expected to cut down the nets on Monday night. The point spread at most Las Vegas casinos has the Wildcats favored by 2.5 points. It’s a familiar position for the Huskies, who have been underdogs for most of March Madness. UConn hasn’t been favored, since their first game of the tournament.
The over/under has been set at 135. Kentucky’s last four games have all totaled at least 143 points, but UConn has held their two opponents to fewer than 55 points.
Kentucky’s Road To Title Game
It hasn’t been easy for the Wildcats to reach the championship game. After defeating Kansas State by seven points in the round of 64, Kentucky hasn’t had anything close to a comfortable victory.
In their last four games, Kentucky has not had a lead at halftime. Their biggest margin of victory was a five-point win over Louisville. The team needed a last-second three pointer by Aaron Harrison in their Elite Eight and Final Four games, in order to advance.
UConn’s Road To Title Game
The Huskies have been quite convincing in the NCAA Tournament. After needing overtime to beat St. Joseph’s in their first game, Connecticut won their next four contests by an average of more than eight points.
On Saturday, UConn dominated Florida, who had proven themselves to be the best team in college basketball. Prior to losing to the Huskies, the Gators had won 30 straight games. Before beating Florida, UConn defeated Michigan State in the Elite Eight. While the Spartans were a No.4 seed, they were the second favorites, behind Florida, to win the national title.
Kentucky was the No.1 team in the preseason, because they are the most talented team in college basketball. Now that the group of freshman have played together for 39 games, they are more than just a collection of highly-touted future NBA players. Even with Kentucky playing so well, UConn is even hotter. Not only have they beaten top teams in the tournament, but they’ve done so in convincing fashion. The Wildcats have had a few close calls and needed late-game heroics to advance. It should be a great game, but Kentucky’s luck may run out on Monday night.
Most Outstanding Player: DeAndre Daniels
Final Score: UConn over Kentucky, 67-63