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Kentucky To Play UConn In NCAA Final

NPR icon by L. Carol Ritchie
A A
David J. Phillip

Eighth-seeded Kentucky will face seventh-seeded UConn in an unlikely NCAA title matchup Monday with the highest combined rankings in tournament history. Neither team was even in the tournament last year.

UConn roared past Florida, the tournament's overall No. 1 seed, and Kentucky pulled off a one-point thriller in the final seconds over second-seeded Wisconsin.

Kentucky's Aaron Harrison lifted a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats up 74-73 over Wisconsin with less than six seconds to go, reprising a game-winning feat he pulled off twice before — against Louisville in the Sweet 16 and Michigan in the Elite Eight.

Moments earlier, Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson missed the first of three free throws, the only one the Badgers failed to make in the 20 they shot in the game. Then Jackson missed a jumper at the buzzer, dooming the school's chance for its first NCAA title since 1941.

And although Florida rode into the Final Four on an incredible 30-game winning streak, the Gators weren't able to make it 31. The University of Connecticut defeated Florida 63-53 on Saturday to seal their spot in the championship game for the NCAA title.

The Huskies were the last team to defeat the Gators back on Dec. 2, so it was only fitting for UConn to put an end Florida's streak. After a slow start for the Huskies — it took them four minutes into the game to post their first two points — they recovered and ended the first half with a 25-22 lead over Florida.

The Huskies picked up where they left off in the second half and opened up an impressive eight-point lead. That lead grew and narrowed at times, but never changed hands. The Huskies fended off the Gators and ended the game winning by a commendable 10 points.

This is the fourth final in UConn's history.

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