The only No. 1 seed left in the NCAA Tournament and the overall top seed in this March Madness, the Florida Gators are joined by two schools— 8th seed Kentucky Wildcats and 2nd seed Wisconsin Badgers which have beaten the other top seeds in the region and another in seeded 7th, the Connecticut Huskies.
Three surprise teams and the favourite. Which teams will advance to the national title game on April 7?
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie a former NBA journeyman has led this Huskies team to its first Final Four appearance since 2011. Meanwhile Billy Donovan has been there and done that: also a former NBA player albeit with way lesser success in the pro leagues, Donovan has led Florida to two national titles, back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.
The Huskies are led by Shabazz Napier who is averaging 23.3 points per game in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The American Athletic Conference player of the year and first-team All-America member was also big in Connecticut’s upset of Florida in the regular season. The Huskies handed the Gators a 65-64 loss on December 2, one of only two defeats by the Gators this season.
Napier beat the buzzer for the victory in that game and finished with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Forward DeAndre Daniels, who is also one of Connecticut's top scorers in the tournament at 17.0 PPG, was had 14 points and 7 rebounds in the win versus Florida.
The Gators with one of the top defenses in the nation has held opponents to just 55.0 PPG in four games so far in the NCAA Tournament. They also know how to stop the Huskies and it all starts with containing the Napier.
"I think a lot of times they can give the ball to Shabazz and he can play up top and just create and make plays," Donovan said via ESPN.COM. "When the ball gets back in his hands, now you're in a very vulnerable situation and that will be something that I think will be a challenge for us tomorrow."
On offense, the Gators use a balanced attack led by Casey Prather (13.8 PPG), Scott Wilbekin (13.4 PPG), Michael Frazier II (12.6 PPG) and Patrick Young (10.8 PPG)
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin and Kentucky will battle the other semifinals match-up. Watch the NCAA March Madness Final Four via the tournament’s official website.