Wednesday, April 9, 2014

UConn Men's Basketball Are National Champions!

The University of Connecticut Huskies Men's Basketball Team was able to beat Kentucky 60-54 on Monday night to claim their 4th National Championship in Dallas, TX.  The first number 7 seed to win the National Championship, this Huskies team came out of nowhere, barely squeaking by St. Joe's, needing Overtime to secure the victory that required a three-point play from Amida Brimah of all people in the first round (that's the 1st round, I don't care what you tell me about the play-in games).

Instead of writing a million and one paragraphs, I figured I could just list out a couple of interesting things from the game and some post-game stuff.

1. Shabazz Napier

A. I could breakout a whole 'nother list for Shabazz alone here it goes.  Shabazz was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament, which comes as no surprise.  He is just the 4th player in tournament history to score 125 points, dish out 25 assists, and grab 25 rebounds in a single NCAA Tournament (22 points, 6 rebs, 3 asts, 3stls in the 'ship).  He joins Husky legend Kemba Walker, all-time legend Larry Bird, and former MVP Derek Rose on that very short list.  Pretty good company to be in (and only him and Kemba won the title those years).

B. He may not have to go to bed hungry anymore, but he gave it to the NCAA a little bit right after the won the title.  The APR scores are an arbitrary stat and it does seem odd to punish a coach and team that had absolutely nothing to do with the school's failing APR score that they were also retroactively punished for.  But hey, it's your moment, you can say anything you want, but I'm pretty sure you had our attention the whole time.

C. Shabazz is on the next cover of Sports Illustrated which is pretty damn cool if you ask me.

D. Upon returning back to Storrs yesterday, Shabazz had his number put up in the 'rafters' with the other former UConn players in the Huskies Wall of Honor.  Well deserved.

E. Just some extra stuff.  He won the Bob Cousy Award for the best point guard in the country, he was a First-Team All-American, he was the conference player of the year, he was clutch, he was awesome, and I love Shabazz.  He led the most improbable run to a Championship of the 4 that the Huskies have won.  That's a hell of an ending for a guy who stuck with the Huskies through a year when they were banned from tournament play while everyone else scampered off and transferred.

2. Derek the RA. 

I'm sure you've heard of this since it's gone viral (I hate that term) since before the game tipped off, but in case you haven't here's a letter from the most out of touch RA I've ever heard of.  He's so RA that it hurts.  Derek must have had a rough night on Monday.

Everything about that letter is so classic RA.  Of course, not classic PC Friar RA, 'cause all but one that I had throughout college were awesome.  And the one was a chick...obviously.

3. Kevin Ollie

Glastonbury resident Kevin Ollie became the 12th coach to win the NCAA title at his alma mater.  His entire coaching staff is from UConn and he believes in the qualaties of togetherness, chemistry, and belief in oneself and teammates as core concepts for his program.  He turned out the be the perfect replacement to Hall of Fame Legend Jim Calhoun (I guess he knew what he was doing with the picking of his successor) and is just the 2nd coach to win the tournament within his first 2 years of coaching a Men's Division I team.  Not bad for a 41 year old.  Let's hope it translates well to recruiting but I don't think he'll have a problem since he relates so well to these kids combining discipline with a freedom to be yourself on the court.

Kevin Durant talked about Ollie back in February.

“Kevin Ollie, he was a game-changer for us. He changed the whole culture, I think. He might not say it, but I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City. [Ollie's] mindset, his professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, we all wanted to be like that, and it rubbed off on Russell [Westbrook], myself, Jeff Green, James Harden. And you know, everybody that comes through now, there’s a standard you’ve got to live up to as a Thunder player. And that started with Kevin Ollie.”

4. The guy who got the Kentucky Champions tattoo

The 22-year old fan got this $80 tattoo before the tournament even started, so I have to give him credit for having enough faith in his team to do this when they were an incredibly long-shot to even have a chance to win the tournament.  That takes some balls.  He's said that he's going to keep the tattoo even though they lost, so I guess the moral of the story is...don't drink and get tattoos.

P.S. Dude's legs are hairy as fuck, right?

5. UConn Is Now Titletown

UConn is the best basketball school in the last 20 years, hands down.

UConn has now moved into 5th place all-time with it's fourth National Championship.  Only UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), Indiana (5), and UNC (5) have more and UConn has won them all in the last 15 years.  The Huskies have the most titles in the last 20 years of any team and have yet to lose in the Championship game (much like the Women).  UConn may have not been mentioned with the all-time elite programs in Men's College Basketball before now since those other schools have been dominant for much longer, but I'd say the last 15 years puts them with those teams in any discussion about the top programs ever.

6. Front Page News

This is just fucking cool.  The front page of 8 different papers around the area on Tuesday morning.

7. James Young's Dunk

This dunk from the game needs to be mentioned.  That was a gasp-worthy dunk when it happened.  James Young just going absolutely HAM down the lane.  Brimah even got a piece of it but he's not strong enough yet to either block the shot outright or body him off from finishing the dunk.

8. Please stay DeAndre!

DeAndre Daniels finally put it all together, just in time for the NCAA tournament.  If he comes back next year, the Huskies will have a strong starting 5 to start the season (Boat, Daniels, Brimah, Samuel, Calhoun) and Nolan off the bench.  He he decides to leave since his NBA stock will never be higher than it is right now, the Huskies are going to have a rough time trying to put the ball in the basket with only Boatright as their one proven scorer.

So please come back just figured out that you have an unstoppable turnaround fadeaway, so you should probably perfect that move and put on a little more muscle, right?  RIGHT?!?

9. The Husky Alumni came out to support the team

Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Andre Drummond, Charlie Villanueva, and many more were in attendance at the game.  That doesn't even count Ollie, Kevin Freeman, and Ricky Moore who are all on the coaching staff.  That shows you how much UConn means to these guys.

10. Drake

This is just great.  Mr. Bandwagon.  Not mad, so sad.

In your face Drake.

I still can't believe that this time won the National Championship.  I think I need another week for this thing to really sink in.

In the meantime, GO HUSKIES!