The NCAA Basketball Championship 2014 live stream and TV game start time arrive on Monday night from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. As reported by ESPN, it's a game featuring two lower seeds in this year's tournament who were not part of last year's tournament for different reasons. It'll be Kentucky vs. UCONN in a game featuring two late surprise stories of the college basketball season, with televised and live streaming NCAA Championship coverage available through CBS and March Madness Live.
According to CSMonitor.com in their April 7 report, the Kentucky Wildcats at 29-10 overall come in as a No. 8 seed, while the Connecticut Huskies at 31-8 come in as No. 7 seeds. Neither team was expected by many outside of their fan bases to make it this far in the “Big Dance.” It’s the first time since 1966 that two teams that weren’t in the tournament a year ago will meet for the championship. It also is the first time that an all-freshman starting lineup will take the court for the title game since Michigan’s “Fab Five” in 1992.
Kentucky has been able to defeat No. 1 seed Wichita State, followed by reigning National Champions Louisville, Michigan and No. 2 seed Wisconsin most recently to reach the championship game. The Huskies took down St. Joseph’s in overtime in their first game of the tournament, followed by No. 2 seed Villanova. From there, they completed a Madison Square Garden spectacle by defeating No. 3 seed Iowa State and No. 4 seed Michigan State, a team many predicted could win it all. The best was yet to come, as the Huskies, known as the last team to give the No. 1 seed Florida Gators a loss this season, eliminated them from the tournament in the semifinals.
Connecticut, coached by former UCONN guard Kevin Ollie, is led by star point guard Shabazz Napier. Considered a possible late first round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Napier has guided the team to victories all season long with big scoring outputs and late-game shots. He’s also led the team in rebounds and assists along with scoring, showing his versatility. Some believe that may have exposed UCONN as a weak rebounding team, but it hasn’t seem to hurt them in this tournament.
"We all play the game of basketball to compete against the best," Napier said. "This is one of them games. ... They worked hard to get to this point and we did too. We're going to do our best to get this `W."
Kentucky were the National Champions just a few seasons ago, as were the Huskies. The Wildcats, coached by John Calipari, have seen a resurgence at just the right time this season behind big plays from their freshman. In particular, Aaron Harrison hit a game-winning three pointer against Wisconsin to send his team to the title game. Harrison also had another game-winner against Michigan with 2.3 seconds left. Against Louisville, his three-pointer with 39 seconds to go gave Kentucky the lead for good in the game.
"The biggest thing is he's not afraid to miss," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "He's OK with it. He's comfortable in his own skin. ... If you're going to make those kind of shots, you absolutely cannot be afraid to miss them."
As mentioned, neither team was part of last year's tournament. Connecticut was ineligible for postseason play due to academic violations, while Kentucky failed to make the field. The Wildcats did play in the NIT tournament and were eliminated in the first round. This year's 2014 Championship game will make history as the first-time ever that a No. 7 and No. 8 seed have met for the college basketball title.
Odds makers have Kentucky as favorites by 3-points to win tonight's game over Connecticut. The over/under points total for the game is set at 135-1/2 points at various sports books. Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein will not play in tonight’s game due to his ongoing left ankle injury.
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