Basketball: Connecticut to face Kentucky for NCAA crown

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  • Shabazz Napier
    Shabazz Napier

The University of Connecticut toppled top-seeded Florida on Saturday and will play Kentucky for America's coveted national collegiate basketball crown. DeAndre Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Huskies star Shabazz Napier scored 12 as Connecticut erased an early 16-4 deficit to beat the Gators 63-53 and advance to Monday's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title game. The championship contest will be the culmination of the 68-team Division One Men's Basketball Championship, better known as March Madness. Connecticut led for the last 22:20 against Florida to snap the Gators' school-record 30-game winning streak -- which had begun after Connecticut upset the Gators on Napier's buzzer-beater back on December 2. The Huskies are seeking a fourth national title. En route to this weekend's Final Four semi-finals -- held this year in the massive, domed stadium of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys -- the Huskies dispatched three serious contenders for the crown in Villanova, Iowa State and Michigan State. But after the elimination of reigning champions Louisville by Kentucky in the round of 16, Florida were seen as the team to beat. "We feel like we have been doubted the whole season," Daniels said. "But that's what drives us. ... When people say that, we like to go out and try to prove people wrong and let them know that UConn's back on top." But they'll be underdogs again against Kentucky, who won the most recent of their eight titles in 2012. The Wildcats edged Wisconsin 74-73 in Saturday's second semi-final with Aaron Harrison draining the go-ahead three-pointer in the waning seconds.

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