Observations: Ollie pushing all the right buttons for streaking UConn
Kevin Ollie is a second-year head coach but he's making all the right moves. And his ability to adjust on the fly is a big reason why UConn will be playing for the national title.
1. Kevin Ollie's in-game adjustments during the NCAA Tournament have been near flawless.
And that's one of the biggest reasons why UConn is playing Monday in the national title game. Trailing Florida 16-4 in the first half on Saturday, Ollie made the decision to go to a smaller lineup with three guards and DeAndre Daniels at center in a move completely changed the entire complexion of the game. After that adjustment, the Huskies had better spacing on offense and the Gators simply couldn't push the UConn offense off-balance. Ollie spent many years in the NBA as a point guard, and his ability to read situations and tweak things have paid major dividends in just his second season as a college head coach.
2. DeAndre Daniels has officially arrived as a big-time player.
And that's something I never thought I'd write this season. Daniels has always had big-time talent but his reputation as a mercurial player was warranted. The 6-foot-9 junior was up and down during the majority of his first three seasons in Storrs, but Daniels has become a different player in the NCAA Tournament. The Los Angeles native has scored in double figures in every game UConn has played in the field of 68, and had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Huskies' 63-53 win over Florida on Saturday. This kid has arrived, folks.
3. Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier were near flawless against Florida.
UConn's dynamic perimeter duo was lethal on defense and took Florida's back court of Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier out of everything they wanted to do. Napier and Boatright held Wilbekin and Frazier to a combined seven points on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor. It was a breathtaking defensive performance by a pair of guards that have made the NCAA Tournament their own personal sanctuary. Napier and Boatright combined for 25 points, nine assists, five steals and just three turnovers in the victory.
4. Aaron Harrison has cemented himself as an NCAA legend.
Kentucky's talented freshman shooting guard simply has no conscience. For the third time in as many games, the 6-6 Harrison made the decisive shot. This one moved the Wildcats program one win away from its second national title in three seasons. Harrison's deep 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left on Saturday night against Wisconsin propelled Kentucky to a 74-73 win. Harrison did the same thing last weekend in the Elite Eight against Michigan and in the round prior against Louisville. Regardless of what happens Monday against UConn, this kid has cemented his legacy in the Commonwealth.
5. The minimal level of separation between teams in college basketball is again on full display.
A No. 7 seed will play a No. 8 eight seed for the national title. Think about that for a second. UConn and Kentucky are blue blood programs, but the fact that these teams are playing for a championship further reiterates that there's a minimal amount of difference between teams competing in college basketball. A seven seed against an eight seed -- who had that in their bracket when the tournament started?
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