Observations: Missed FTs costs Cal's Wildcats a national title -- again
Missed opportunities at the charity stripe costs John Calipari's Wildcats a chance at a national championship again.
1. Missed free throws again cost John Calipari a national title.
It happened when he was at Memphis in 2008 and it happened again Monday night against UConn. Kentucky played far from its best game against the Huskies and it didn't help itself at the foul line either. The Wildcats were just 13 for 24 from the charity stripe and were never able to take the lead when UConn went on an offensive drought in the second half. Kentucky never led in the entire 40 minutes.
2. The unpredictability of college basketball is what makes the sport so special.
A seven seed won the national title and it beat an eight seed to do it. UConn was at one point 0-2 in conference play. It also got swept by SMU. None of that matters when you're playing in the tournament. There was a minimal level of separation between the elite teams this season, and the NCAA Tournament reiterated that to the fullest degree. There's no way to know what's going to happen in this sport. And that's what makes it so appealing. College basketball. Where the unexpected becomes the ordinary.
3. Shabazz Napier may be more ready to run a team right now that any other point guard in June's NBA Draft.
That doesn't mean he's going to be the first floor general taken but he may be more capable than his competition. Marcus Smart may have a more "pro ready" body and Tyler Ennis may be "rated higher," but are those players really more polished as a floor general than Napier? The 6-foot guard dominated the NCAA Tournament and was the Final Four's most outstanding player after scoring 22 point, six rebound, three assist, three steal performance against Kentucky. Napier is a gem in pick and roll situations which means he's tailor made for the NBA as a point guard. I'm well aware that Smart's physical attributes put him over the top when executives make projections for the next level, but it's hard for me to believe that there's a floor general ready more ready to affect winning at the next level more than Napier, who now has won two national titles during his four-year college career.
4. The national title game again brought out the best in Niels Giffey.
As a freshman, the 6-7 small forward had a very solid game in 2011 against Butler (four points, six rebounds) when UConn won the national title, and college basketball's biggest stage once again brought out the best in the Berlin native. Giffey scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds, and played very tough defense on Julius Randle in the victory. The Huskies wouldn't have won the title without him.
5. Ryan Boatright will be one of the best guards in the country next season as a senior.
A jet in the open floor, Boatright saved his best basketball for the NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot junior was inconsistent at times during the regular season, but settled in and became the player he's capable of during the postseason. Boatright had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals against Kentucky. He'll get the keys to the car in Storrs next season after Shabazz Napier's departure.
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