Why UConn will win NCAA tournament

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:36 PM ET

The NCAA championship plaque is heading back to Connecticut.

Here’s why:

1. KEMBA-MANIA

Kemba Walker has been brilliant all season turning himself into a deadly mid-range player and the best closer in college basketball.

We’ve seen superstars come through on the biggest stage many times and unlike some of them. Walker has tons of heart and won’t be bothered by Butler’s physical play. In fact, he’ll probably go right at them and get the Bulldogs into foul trouble.

2. THE OFFENCE IS CLICKING

Walker is getting everybody involved and though the three-point shooting was awful against Kentucky, the odds say it will turn around in a big way. Three made threes was the team’s season low.

UConn is setting excellent screens and making hard, effective cuts and good decisions with the ball for the most part.

The team had 12 assists on its first 14 field goals against Kentucky.

“Those three guards break you down, get inside of you, cause you to rotate, then you’re in bad rebounding position,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens.

3. CONTINUITY

The Huskies are 13-3 with their current starting lineup and have won 10 games in a row overall giving them tons of confidence.

They are all following the lead of Walker, who has been in the Final Four before.

“We came together as a team, we fought through it,” Walker said.

“As we won games, we got a lot more confident. We kind of felt unstoppable. Things just clicked at the right time.”

And they continue to click.

4. DEFENCE, REBOUNDING, INSIDE PLAY

The Huskies held an extremely talented Wildcats team to 33% shooting and 20 less points then they had been averaging in the tournament.

“I thought defensively we were magnificent ... you can get it done in a lot of different ways if you have the right kind of kids,” Calhoun said.

Butler has used an edge on the boards to great success, but UConn is 11th in the U.S. in rebounding and big Alex Oriakhi has found his game while Charles Okwandu provides another shot-blocking presence.

“We can’t go to war without a warrior inside,” said head coach Jim Calhoun.

Uconn scored 34 of 56 points inside against Kentucky and has shot better from the field than its opponent in all five of its games in the NCAA tournament.

5. KNOW HOW TO WIN CLOSE GAMES

The Huskies are 9-3 in games decided by four points or less this season. They have that guy Kemba that has a tendency to break the hearts of opponents in the clutch. He’s the guy any coach in the tournament would want to take the last shot of a game and Calhoun has him.

“When you have to play five great teams in the Big East, it’s a war every single game,” Oriakhi said.

“I think playing in the Big East tournament definitely prepared us for the NCAA tournament.”


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