With 5 seconds left and the Huskies up by six, Ollie extended his arms in the air. He turned toward the crowd and let out a scream.
Shabazz Napier scored 22 points and Connecticut won its second NCAA title in four years, beating all those Kentucky freshmen 60-54 in the championship game Monday night.
The Fab Five came onto the national basketball landscape like a thunder dunk. You had to notice the five baggy-shorts-wearing freshmen starters from Michigan who made their way to the national championship game.
The wildest NCAA Tournament of the modern era culminates with an 8 seed versus a 7 seed for the championship. Kentucky, a 74-73 winner over Wisconsin on Saturday, will face Connecticut, which upset Florida 64-53.
Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein will miss Monday night’s national title game against Connecticut because of a lingering ankle injury, while forward Alex Poythress plans to play after tweaking his knee during the Wildcats’ semifinal celebration.
Connecticut and Kentucky couldn’t have met in last year’s championship game and few people gave them a chance to be in this year’s.
Calipari embraces the sordid system, uses it, and dominates. He doesn’t pretend he’s taking kids for the leafy campus life, for the diploma that will never arrive, or even for a few classes. He wants talent. And talent he gets. And talented he is.
Kentucky coach John Calipari might as well have built a pipeline to Texas during the recruiting season, or at least found a nice place to rent somewhere between Dallas and Houston.
Rob Bromley once called a Kentucky high school basketball game that Rex Chapman won on a last-second shot.
Kentucky’s remarkable run this postseason demonstrates that it really is more important how you finish than how you start.