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NCAA Tournament Final Four: UConn-Kentucky LIVE BLOG

By Eye on College Basketball staff | CBSSports.com

UConn and Kentucky are underway for the national championship.  (USATSI)
UConn and Kentucky are underway for the national championship. (USATSI)

Chip Patterson will be updating the live blog with game highlights, news, Tweets, GIFS and other fun from Monday night as UConn and Kentucky share college basketball's biggest stage in the NCAA Tournament championship game.

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12:20 a.m. -- The 2014 edition of "One Shining Moment"

12:19 a.m. -- Looks like "Hurricane National Title" rolled through the student union at UConn.

12:09 a.m. -- Charlotte Bobcats teammates Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a friendly wager on the game. MKG pays up reluctantly with a UConn jersey tee.

11:42 p.m. -- Kevin Ollie cuts the final pieces of the net. Stay tuned, we'll have the 2014 edition of "One Shining Moment" for you momentarily.

11:37 p.m. -- We delivered Drake photos after a Kentucky win last night, so we should do the same after a Kentucky lo--wait, is that Drake with former UConn great Richard Hamilton? (UPDATE: Photo was taken before the game, not after).

Former UConn sharpshooter Ray Allen enjoyed the win in person as well.

11:33 p.m. -- Ryan Boatright just said that he wasn't about to let the national championship game end with an ankle sprain. He certainly did not show any signs of pain while celebrating the Huskies' victory.

11:25 p.m. -- Check out Kentucky's last frantic possession and the beginning of the celebration for UConn.

11:22 p.m. -- And here come the SADZ

11:20 p.m. -- UConn held on to become the first seven seed to win a national championship game. It's the program's fourth title, Kevin Ollie's first as a head coach and Shabazz Napier's second as a player. Napier finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting (4-9 from 3) and was the most dominant player on the floor on Monday night.

11:15 p.m. -- We are inside the final minute. 54.1 seconds left and UConn holds a 58-54 lead. Kentucky has no more fouls to give.

11:09 p.m. -- Reading this without a TV (CBS) on or the game open in an extra window (watch online)? Cut on the game! With 3:47 left, Poythress has a free throw coming to cut UConn's lead to three points. UConn's big men are in foul trouble and the Wildcats have an opportunity to take advantage with Poythress and Julius Randle. Can Shabazz and Boatright keep UConn ahead for a wire-to-wire win?

11:04 p.m. -- Kentucky cut the lead to one point, but UConn answered immediately with back-to-back threes from Napier and Giffey. The chess match of the final minutes has been fascinating, with both teams switching in and out of zone defenses to find/hide favorable matchups. 5:01 remaining, UConn up 54-50.

10:54 p.m. -- Ryan Boatright tweaked his ankle catching a pass and while UConn still leads 48-45 (9:00 left to play in the first half) things are looking shaky for the Huskies.

10:50 p.m. -- JAMES YOUNG IS HERE AND WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU THAT KENTUCKY IS NOT GOING AWAY ANYTIME SOON.

Young leads Kentucky in scoring with 16 points and has added four rebounds. UK trails 48-45. You want different angles? We've got different angles.

10:33 p.m. -- UConn's offense looks choppy and out of sync early in the second half, but the same could said to describe the play of both teams. The officials have let the game turn physical quickly, and it has resulted in a couple ugly possessions. Huskies lead 37-36 at the first media timeout.

10:28 p.m. -- UConn guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright will be done with their college basketball careers after tonight's game. Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman took to Twitter to see if there was any interest in getting the duo on the Buckeyes' football team.

10:17 p.m. -- We're minutes away from the second half of a four point game for the national championship. If the final 20 minutes are anything like the first half or most of the tournament, we're in for a treat.

Right, Kentucky Bros?

Where is everyone watching the game? If you are with 2011 NCAA champion Kemba Walker and 2012 champion Michael Kidd-Gilchrist then please report back on trash talking and snacks.

10:10 p.m. -- Jerry Jones' suite is the best suite people-watching.

And of course Tony Romo's head showed up on the jumbotron with No. 42 and No. 43

10:04 p.m. -- HALFTIME: UConn 35, Kentucky 31. The Wildcats finished the half on a 16-5 run. Scary news for UConn? Julius Randle was a non-factor on offense until the game's final minute and the Wildcats started to find success with their zone defense. Another 20 minutes? Sure, let's do it together.

9:55 p.m. -- LIVE BLOG JINX ENGAGED! A three from Young, a three from Andrew Harrison and suddenly UConn's double-digit lead -- which at its largest reached 15 -- is gone. The Huskies lead 33-26 with 2:24 left in the first half.

9:50 p.m. -- Wildcats fans have James Young to thank for keeping UConn from pulling away. Young has been active and aggressive while other UK players are starting to look shaken by the Huskies' double-digit lead.

9:40 p.m. -- Kentucky has struggled against UConn's pick-and-roll, particularly as possessions extend and the Wildcats have to recover. Huskies guard Ryan Boatright caught the entire UK defense out of position and took advantage.

9:31 p.m. -- Local eating and drinking establishments from across the country are hosting watch parties tonight for the game. I'm guessing the Buffalo Wild Wings pictured below is not in Connecticut.

9:20 p.m. -- We're off to a pretty strong start. DeAndre Daniels highlighted the first bit of action with a move on the baseline that ended with a jam. Also a highlight from the first minutes of the game? Willie Cauley-Stein's colorful undershirt.

9:00 p.m. -- Former Kentucky star, and TeamCast commentator for the Wildcats, says John Calipari is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers regardless of the outcome tonight. Calipari is a regular name mentioned in NBA coaching rumors, but could Chapman know something we don't?

8:48 p.m. -- Jerry Jones has two particularly notable houseguests for this evening. Former President Bill Clinton and Former President George W. Bush will be joining Jones for tonight's game. The two former U.S. Presidents were in nearby Austin for the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act. Twitter has provided some photo evidence of No. 42 and No. 43.

8:40 p.m. -- Welcome back one and all! We're just 30 minutes or so away from tip off in North Texas. Let's run down the necessary pregame checklist:

1) Read the Game Picks: Our CBSSports.com experts are split 4-3 in favor of Kentucky. My thoughts? If Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright can disrupt the Wildcats rhythm with pressure on the Harrison twins, UConn can make this game low scoring and winnable.

2) For a detailed breakdown of what each team needs to do in order to cut down the nets, check out Gary Parrish's game preview.

3) Get comfy, keep this tab open on your browser and hit the refresh link above every 5-10 minutes during the game. We'll be grabbing viral content from across the web and sharing it here, along with updates and pertinent info. Feel free to scroll through Saturday's LiveBlog below for an idea of what to expect.

Follow Eye On College Basketball on the scene: @GaryParrishCBS @GreggDoyelCBS @MattNorlander @JeffBorzello @jppalmCBS @KylePorterCBS

SATURDAY -- FINAL FOUR

12:15 p.m. -- Thank you @SBNationGIF, for coming through with the Drake GIF of the night. Kentucky, the preseason No. 1, did start at the top.

11:33 p.m. -- FINAL: Kentucky held on to win 74-73 after a missed jumper from Traevon Jackson on the final possession. The Wildcats will face UConn on Monday in the first-ever meeting of a 7-seed and 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament championship game.

11:25 p.m. -- Andrew Harrison missed a three-pointer with less than a minute remaining then fouled Traevon Jackson's three-point attempt on the ensuing possession. Jackson hit two of his three free throws before it was Aaron Harrison AGAIN hitting a clutch deep three-pointer to give Kentucky a 74-73 lead with 5.7 seconds remaining.

11:13 p.m. -- This Poythress power dribble and slam is absolutely ridiculous. Wisconsin and Kentucky are tied 69-69 with less than three minutes remaining. Kaminsky and Randle are battling down low and both teams have been moving the ball well. It's very, very fun and we hope you take part by watching on TBS or Online (click here) or with the mobile app.

11:00 p.m. -- Wisconsin takes a 64-62 lead into the under-8 timeout, and we need to stop and appreciate the general quality of basketball on display in this late game. The Badgers continue to rely on some timely shooting, but Frank The Tank has started getting aggressive in the paint and things are interesting. Do yourself a favor and get to TBS, but we might have a classic in the making.

10:44 p.m. -- Calipari's shotgun timeout appears to have worked. Kentucky went on a 13-0 run between the timeout at 19:08 and the under-16 break at 15:33. James Young, Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress all contributed, but a thunder-dunk alley-oop to Marcus Lee put an excalamation point on the spurt.

10:35 p.m. -- John Calipari saw something he did not like in the first 52 seconds (offensive rebound leading to a three-pointer, probably) and has called a fast timeout. You can spend the extra break reading Jeff Borzello on what is next for this veteran-laden Florida program.

10:28 p.m. -- We heard that Drake and Johnny Manziel were together at the Final Four, but now there is photo evidence to show you.

10:10 p.m. -- HALFTIME: Wisconsin 40, Kentucky 36. The Badgers let their guard down with the Harrison twins on the bench, and Kentucky's reserves did some real damage to the lead before halftime. Randle returned to the game in a dominant way, finishing the half with 9 points on 4-of-6 shooting and making his mark in the paint.

10:02 p.m. -- Good news for Kentucky fans: Julius Randle is back in the game and getting buckets.

Bad news for Kentucky fans: Dakari Johnson was hit with a dead ball techinical foul after this interaction with Frank Kaminsky under the basket. Kaminsky did receive a personal foul prior to the shove, and the entire incident was reviewed thoroughly by the officials.

(GIF via The Big Lead)

9:50 p.m. -- Matt Norlander is back from talking to UConn's players and coaches. He writes how amazing it was that the Huskies did not even need a star performance from senior guard Shabazz Napier to beat Florida easily and advance to the title game.

9:44 p.m. -- A major development to keep an eye on: Kentucky forward Julius Randle checked out of the game favoring his right foot after getting shaken up fighting for an offensive rebound. According to Tracy Wolfson, Randle told the UK trainer, "I just rolled it."

9:31 p.m. -- Two three-pointers from Ben Brust helped power a 10-0 run for the Badgers as Wisconsin jumped in front of Kentucky. The Badgers hold a 17-11 lead with 11:53 left. Traevon Jackson has two fouls, one of which drew this reported reaction from Bo Ryan.

9:24 p.m. -- It is not hard to identify some differences in coaching philosophy for Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and Kentucky coach John Calipari. But this note, per Wisconsin's Twitter feed, stands out.

9:19 p.m. -- Kentucky hasn't allowed a single point from Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky, but the Badgers are still hanging right with the Wildcats. Traevon Jackson has a three pointer and helped bat a loose ball towards Bronson Koenig for a fast break layup. Kentucky is up 9-7 at the first TV timeout (15:37 left in the first half).

9:02 p.m. -- A few photos from UConn's win against Florida. (via USA Today Sports Images)

8:46 p.m. -- Catch that UNLV jacket being worn by Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, during the March Madness halftime show? He's letting his Las Vegas show.

8:30 p.m. -- Wow. UConn really did it. The first No. 7 seed in the Final Four since 1984 is advancing to the national title game after knocking off Florida, the No. 1 team in the country, 63-53. Four Huskies finished in double figures, led by Daniels (20 points on 9-of-14 shooting) and the nine combined assists from Boatright and Napier.

Florida was held to 38.8 percent shooting and its lowest point total of the season. Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin tried to shake off leg issues but was obviously affected and finished with just four points, four fouls and just one assist. It's the Gators first loss since Dec. 2, when they last lost to UConn.

8:20 p.m. -- Led by Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier, the UConn offense has been incredibly efficient down the stretch in the second half. From the 14:22 mark until now (2:04 remaining), the Huskies have hit 10 of 11 field goals. UConn, a No. 7 seed, is up 59-47 on the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Time to fire up the #UpsetAlert Sirens for the Gators.

8:13 p.m. -- Catching up on some earlier UConn highlights. Great pass to a cutting DeAndre Daniels from earlier in the second half.

And the fantastic reaction from the Huskies bench.

(H/T: Fansided)

8:02 p.m. -- Florida's charge back into the game -- trailing 43-40 with 7:40 remaining -- has set up a potentially thrilling finish. Now seems like a great time to remind you that you can stream the game here online in another window.

One thing to watch down the stretch will be the foul situation for UConn. Nolan and Brimah already have four fouls, and the Gators could take advantage of a size advantage down low should one, or both players, foul out of the game.

7:51 p.m. -- Florida has begun to show more urgency, as we approach the midway point in the second half. UConn's lead has been trimmed to 39-31 and -- OH MY GOODNESS MATT, WHAT DO YOU HAVE? Norlander shares pics of the spoils inside JerryWorld.

7:35 p.m. -- The Huskies continued the run, jumping out to a 33-25 lead in the first four minutes of the second half. The Gators, still without a three-pointer since Frazier's shot in the game's opening minutes, have had to fight for every bucket.

7:05 p.m. -- UConn's counterpunch, finishing the half on a 21-6 run, gave the Huskies a 25-22 advantage at halftime. Casey Prather created some offense for Florida as the game slowed following the Huskies' initial run, but credit UConn for taking advantage of an uglier style and seizing control of the game.

6:48 p.m. -- The LIVE BLOG jinx is in full effect! UConn fired off an 11-0 run that featured two three-pointers from noted X-factor DeAndre Daniels and another from Boatright. With 6:32 left in the first half, Florida leads UConn 16-15.

6:42 p.m. -- Florida's defense has been absolutely relentless with its pressure on UConn's guards. The Huskies have just four points with less than ten minutes gone in the first half, currently trailing 16-4 (8:57 left to play). One early highlight for Florida on defense was Patric Young's MONSTER block on this Ryan Boatright floater.

6:20 p.m. -- Florida has held UConn scoreless thus far (3:08 in) and the Gators a couple buckets inside (plus a Frazier three) to force an early Kevin Ollie timeout. Don't forget to track the stats with our gametracker and check out the iconic tip-off photo (via USATSI) from this year's Final Four.

6:00 p.m. -- Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein has officially been ruled OUT for tonight's game against Wisconsin. The Wildcats have been without Cauley-Stein (6.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG) since the win against Louisville in the Sweet 16.

5:45 p.m. -- Our friends in North Texas are settled in courtside, and now it's time to narrow the NCAA Tournament to two teams. Florida -UConn will get us started shortly after 6 p.m. and then Wisconsin -Kentucky will be the night cap. Preview both games with the Viewer's Guide, and get ready for a big night of basketball in a JERRYWORLD.

Double jumbotrons for the Final Four.  (USATSI)
Double jumbotrons for the Final Four. (USATSI)

Follow Eye On College Basketball on the scene: @GaryParrishCBS @GreggDoyelCBS @MattNorlander @JeffBorzello @jppalmCBS @KylePorterCBS

 
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