JOE D’S NOTEBOOK
ARLINGTON,TX 4/6/14- And now there are two. And one of them is UConn. Unbelievable…or not so unbelievable. It’s the day before the National Championship game and the Huskies will be here at AT&T Stadium shortly to talk about tomorrow’s match up with Kentucky and then practice on the raised floor inside the house that Jerry built.
We talk a lot about not seeing this coming after the season ending loss to Louisville. How about after the first 11 minutes last night when Florida was blowing up the Huskies by the tune of 16-4. UConn couldn’t shoot and couldn’t stop the Gators.But then, for the final 29 minutes, the Huskies outscored Florida 59-37 UConn played with confidence and poise, two attributes Florida didn’t show.
DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright continued their superb post seasons. They have become complete players at both ends of the floor and that was never more evident than last night. Daniels double double was proof positive of his willingness to commit to rebounding. Boatright’s defense has become of the most talked about aspects of the Huskies run. And throw in more solid efforts by Neils Giffey and Terrence Samuel and you have the formula for success.
Shabazz Napier didn’t shoot much but he was still the most valuable player on the floor for UConn. His ability to draw attention away from the other Huskies certainly is critical to their offensive success. And on the defensive end, he and Boatright outplayed the Gators guards by a big margin.
And once again, in the biggest game of the season, Kevin Ollie pushed all the right buttons. It’s not a coincidence that in the last two games, his team has followed up timeouts and big game changing runs. The defensive game plan to stop Florida was near perfect. I thought the Gators erred by not dumping the ball into Patric Young and riding him as far as they could since UConn couldn’t stop him in either game.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a deeper look at the challenge that the tall and talented Wildcats will present. But for now,enjoy the moment. It has been one that Husky Nation won’t ever forget.
Tonight, it’s the women in Nashville against Stanford. Think the Tennessee fans won’t be rooting against the Huskies. It could seem like a home game for the Cardinal. Bob Joyce and Deb Fiske will be on the call starting at 8:30, following Bob’s look back at the season on the Road to the Final Four at 7:30.
Have a great Sunday!