BOZICH | 10 Ways To Show Your NCAA Title Game Smarts - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | 10 Ways To Show Your NCAA Title Game Smarts

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Kentucky coach John Calipari (left) and UConn's Kevin Ollie will put their friendship aside during the NCAA championship game. Kentucky coach John Calipari (left) and UConn's Kevin Ollie will put their friendship aside during the NCAA championship game.

ARLINGTON, Texas (WDRB) – You've already heard all the basic facts and figures from the 2014 NCAA championship game.

Kentucky is trying to follow Villanova (1985) as only the second eight-seed to win the NCAA men's basketball title. Connecticut is trying to top that achievement by being the first seven-seed to cut down the nets.

The combined seeds for the two teams – 15 – is the highest since the NCAA began the seeding process during the 1979 tournament.

But if you're watching the game tonight with friends, you need more. You need to shine. You need A-List material. No need to worry.

Here are 10 Ways To Show Your Championship Game Smarts:

1. John Calipari has his hands on the door of an exclusive club. Only 14 coaches have won two or more NCAA titles, led by John Wooden, who won 10 at UCLA and Adolph Rupp, who won four at Kentucky.

Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) also has four, while Bob Knight (Indiana) and Jim Calhoun (UConn) have three.

If UK defeats UConn Monday night, John Calipari would join Rick Pitino (UK, Louisville); Roy Williams (North Carolina); Billy Donovan (Florida); Dean Smith (North Carolina); Denny Crum (Louisville); Henry Iba (Oklahoma State); Ed Jucker (Cincinnati); Branch McCracken (Indiana) and Phil Woolpert (San Francisco) in the Two Title Club.

The only two coaches on the list who have not been voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame are Jucker and Donovan – and Donovan's time will come.

2. If Connecticut wins the title, it will be the fourth championship for the Huskies in the last 16 seasons.  North Carolina, Duke and Florida have won a pair of titles during that period. No other program has won more than one.

If that happens, UConn is The Program of this era – and the Huskies are trying to deliver another men's and women's double.

3. The last time either a 1 or 2 seed was not participating in the title game was three years ago in Houston. UConn was a 3, Butler an 8.

4. The last time the lower seed won the NCAA championship game was 2006. Florida, a three seed, beat Ohio State, a two seed.

5. Over the last 20 seasons, the higher seed has defeated the lower seed 13 times in the final game. The lower seed has won three. In the four other games, the teams shared the same seed.

6. If UK wins the title tonight and one of the Wildcats is voted the Most Outstanding Player, it will be Kentucky's ninth title but only seventh different player to win the award.


Alex Groza won the award twice – and when UK won the championship in 1958 a player from the losing team was voted the winner.

Here is the list: Anthony Davis (2012); Jeff Sheppard (1998); Tony Delk (1996); Jack Givens (1978); Bill Spivey (1951); Alex Groza (1948 and 1949). When Kentucky won the title in 1958, Elgin Baylor of Seattle was voted the Most Outstanding Player.

For the record, Las Vegas has put the over/under on how many points UK freshman Julius Randle will score at 15.5 points. For Aaron Harrison, the number is 14.5 and James Young 13.5.

7. When the tournament began, Nate Silver's computer model at his 538 blog rated the Wildcats' chances of wining the title at less than 1 percent.

Same for Connecticut.

Louisville was the favorite at 15 percent, followed by Florida at 14 percent.

Silver said he calculated the chances of a Kentucky-UConn matchup at 1 in 1,280.

UK was a 50-1 bet in Vegas to win it all. UConn was 100-1.

Who's got a ticket?

You're buying lunch.

8. Kentucky started the season ranked first in the Associated Press pre-season poll and finished ranked 28th (although I voted the Wildcats 24th on my final ballot).

The Wildcats would be the first unranked team to win the title since Kansas in 1988 – and that Jayhawks' team was coached by Calipari's mentor, Larry Brown.

Kentucky lost the top spot on Nov. 18, dropping to fourth after a loss to Michigan State. They moved to third the following week and stayed there one more week. Then a second loss, to Baylor, pushed Kentucky to No. 11 – and the Wildcats failed to return to the Top 10 the rest of the season.

John Calipari's team was ranked outside the Top 25 in the final two polls.

9. UConn began the season ranked 18th and the Huskies were also 18th in the final poll.

Along the way, UConn was ranked as high as ninth. The Huskies were also unranked in four polls.

10. Kentucky is favored by 2 ½ points in Las Vegas.

Nate Silver calls the game 50-50. Ken Pomeroy's computer model says Kentucky 68, UConn 67. Jeff Sagarin's computer model likes UK by .59 points.

Dr. Bo will also take Kentucky – 67-61.

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