NCAA Tournament

April 4, 2014

NCAA national semifinal preview: (7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida

Connecticut takes on top-seeded Florida in the first of two NCAA national semifinals Saturday at the Final Four in Arlington, Texas. The game is set to tip off at 5:09 p.m. and will air on TBS.

5:09 p.m. Saturday at AT Stadium in Arlington, Texas.


TBS; WHB (810 AM)

P No. Connecticut Ht. Yr. PPG
F 5 Niels Giffey 6-7 Sr. 8.3
F 2 DeAndre Daniels 6-9 Jr 13.0
C 0 Phillip Nolan 6-10 So. 3.5
G 11 Ryan Boatright 6-0 Jr. 12.0
G 13 Shabazz Napier 6-1 Sr. 18.1


The Huskies won the East Region with victories over two conference tournament champions: Iowa State (Big 12) and Michigan State (Big Ten). They’ve won nine of their last 11 with both losses coming to Louisville. If this game turns into a free-throw battle, Connecticut has an edge, shooting 77.4 percent. Shabazz Napier has been as important to his team as anybody in the Final Four. He has scored 30.3 percent of his teams points in the NCAA Tournament.

P No. Florida Ht. Yr. PPG
F 15 Will Yeguete 6-8 Sr. 5.0
F 24 Casey Prather 6-6 Sr. 13.8
C 4 Patric Young 6-9 Sr. 10.8 
G 5 Scottie Wilbekin 6-2 Sr. 13.4
G 20 Michael Frazier II 6-4 So. 12.6


The Gators, who had lost three straight NCAA Tournament regional finals, are back in the Final Four for the first time since winning the 2007 national title. This is coach Billy Donovan’s fourth Final Four, and he’s won this game in his three previous trips. Florida is led by SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin, but this is a remarkably balanced team with four starters who average double figures in scoring.

• BOTTOM LINE: This semifinal matches programs that have been all-or-nothing recently. The Huskies won the 2011 championship and were ineligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2013. After winning the title in 2006 and 2007, Florida missed the NCAA Tournament the next two years. But here they are, chasing history. The Napier-Wilbekin matchup is the one to watch. Florida, the nation’s top defensive team, has held four NCAA foes to at least 10 points below their season scoring average. That happens again as the Gators prevail.

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