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2014 College Basketball Championship: Kentucky Wildcats vs. UConn Huskies
By Reel Robinson

Matchup Preview

The final game of the year is among us and soon we will be enjoying the changing spring weather and the college semester coming to a close. Student athletes buckle down for their last month of classes and start planning summer trips with their friends. Before I get ahead of myself, though, I want to enjoy one more great college basketball game, which happens to be the biggest of them all. We have been granted an opportunity to watch two great teams fight and claw their way to a chance to cut the final nets of the year. The UConn Huskies will take on the talented SEC foe the Kentucky Wildcats. Five games down and one more to go. Which one of these battle tested teams will have enough to take home the title of National Champion?

The Final Four matchups displayed the importance of effective mid-game coaching adjustments. Kevin Ollie, the second year head coach for the Huskies, made game-changing adjustments against the No. 1 seed Florida Gators to help put his players in position to win on Saturday. The same can be said about Kentucky head coach John Calipari. His trust in hJohn Calipariis young team in tense moments have allowed his team to play at their best at the right time in the season. The maturity Kentucky has shown beating their last two opponents (Wisconsin, Michigan) with heart breaking shots down the stretch with poise and confidence is the total difference in them being at home and playing for the National Title. The championship game will showcase a first time head coach against a veteran, pitting for their rightful positions in college basketball history. Calipari has an opportunity to win his second title in three years, solidifying his name in the already vast history of the Kentucky program. Ollie will be looking to win a title in his second season as head coach, which would be an amazing feet to say the least, maybe opening doors for other former NBA players to find coaching jobs right out of the league.

After five games and grueling conference tournaments, these teams have made it through the bruises and scars in order to play for this opportunity to win a National Title. Now that they have made it to their preseason dream destination, I want to talk about the potential matchup and what will help either team come out the victors. I feel like UConn -- despite beating the best team in the country (Florida) and playing some of the best ball of the year right now -- are the underdogs to the talented No. 8 seed. Everyone knows Calipari only recruits the best talent and has for years now, but UConn has the best player on the floor at all times in Shabazz Napier, who'll have a lot to do with the success or failure of the Huskies.

Kentucky has been dominating on the rebounding scale, which has been a major part in their wins during their tournament run. They've also won the last two games with game-winning buzzer beaters, so even with all the dominating rebounding, they are still having problems keeping teams from scoring. Granted, they have played really good shooting teams the last 2 weeks and that makes it hard to figure if it was good shooting or bad defense. So far talent has been on the side of the Wildcats, but against UConn, they'll be against matching talent level. Kentucky still has more athletes and size, but Florida did as well and it hindered them against UConn once the Huskies started to make shots and get comfortable.

Guarding DeAndre Daniels will be the focus for Kentucky players. He has been the defining factor for the Huskies success during the tournament to say the least. He has been on a tear scoring 17.6 a game in the tournament, including a double-double against Florida on Saturday (20 points and 10 rebounds). The length of the Kentucky swing man Poythress may be the best option to stop Daniels. Maybe even putting some strength like Julius Randle on him to push him around, though that'll risk losing your best player to foul trouble. The Harrison twins have to continue to take care of the ball. During the season, the team averaged 13 turnovers. Against Wisconsin, they only gave it up four times. Taking care of the ball plays a major role in their success. Napier and Ryan Boatright are great on ball defenders. They give up some size to the Kentucky twins, but I want to see if they can cause the young duo to cough it up a few times and make them uncomfortable. If they can play with care Kentucky will have a great chance of winning. It's as simple as that.

You can count on Napier will continuing his poise play. Even facing double teams off the pick and roll against Florida he managed to affect the game in other facets, hitting big shots when necessary Saturday night. He will have to help get Daniels open shots early to get him in rhythm. Ryan Boatright will be an interesting handle Kentucky will have to deal with as well, as he's playing some strong basketball. He will be pressuring the ball as well. Kentucky will most likely have a significant edge on the backboard, UConn isn't the best rebounding team, but I think they will make the right adjustments.

Julius Randle will have his way down low against that UConn front court. Randle is a man amongst boys, but team defense can play a big role in slowing him down. Ollie showed against Florida that he isn't afraid to go deep on his bench if necessary and he will have to throw as many bodies as he can against Randle and Johnson. His confidence in his role players may be an important factor to the game.

At the beginning of this tournament, I said the champion would come from the Midwest Region and Kentucky has made it through that region undefeated, so I am almost incline to pick them to win. Plus they are playing great basketball, but I have come to love this UConn team in this tournament. I thought they were one of the sleepers because of Napier and he has done exactly what I thought he could by getting them to Texas. After thoroughly looking at both teams and knowing there can be no draw, I will reluctantly say with my heart that UConn will cut down the nets once again 75-72.

Who do you think will win it all? Who do you like in this matchup? Leave me a comment and let me know.

4/7 Kentucky vs. UConn 9:00pm EST

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