Ollie, Napier lead Uconn men to fourth NCAA title, women next?

Senior point guard Shabazz Napier was awarded NCAA Tournament MVP as he  led UConn to a 60 - 54 victory over Kentucky Monday night.

Senior point guard Shabazz Napier was awarded Final Four Most Outstanding Player as he led UConn to a 60 – 54 victory over Kentucky Monday night.

By Charles Glover Jr.

The Connecticut Huskies completed their improbable run through the NCAA tournament to capture the NCAA title in a 60 – 54 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats on Monday night. The Huskies never trailed in the tightly contested game and there were plenty of big plays made by key members on both teams. Final Four Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier and back-court mate Ryan Boatright accounted for 36 of the team’s 60 points and controlled the tempo offensively and defensively throughout the game. As Napier coined them, “the hungry Huskies” were ready for everything Kentucky could throw at them.

Head coach Kevin Ollie (l) and Shabazz Napier (r) will forever be linked to this team's championship run.

UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie (l) and Point Guard Shabazz Napier (r) will forever be linked to this team’s championship run.

This championship marks the fourth in Uconn’s history for the men and the second time in four years the team ends the season with a win. Kevin Ollie becomes the first African-American head coach to lead his team to the title since Tubby Smith led Kentucky to the title in 1998. The first-time head coach pushed all the right buttons for his team in his second year as head coach. He believed in his team’s leader from the beginning of the season, stating:

“Shabazz is not only the best point guard in the country…the best leader in America!”

UConn celebrates their victory on the court.

UConn celebrates their victory on the court after playing hard and showing teamwork.

With former head coach Jim Calhoun in attendance, Ollie and his Huskies were able to restore the program to the acclaim it had since winning its first title in 1999. It has been exactly ten years since UConn accomplished winning the national basketball championship in the men and women’s game and there is a chance history repeats itself Tuesday night. Until then, congratulations to the Connecticut Huskies on their national championship and their exciting run in fulfilling their destiny.—.OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Men’s or Women’s NCAA basketball championship, which is more compelling?

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school's winning tradition on Monday night.

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school’s winning tradition on Monday night.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Monday night the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Men’s National Championship. On Tuesday night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will challenge the Connecticut Lady Huskies in the Women’s National Championship. Both games have intriguing stories that are sure to make the matchups entertaining.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead  the school to their second title in 3 years.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead the school to their second title in 3 years.

The men’s championship features two schools that have been very successful over the past fifteen years, yet neither team made the NCAA tournament last year. Kentucky features five freshmen, led by forward Julius Randle and guard Aaron Harrison. Harrison has become known for his late game heroics in this tournament. When asked about his confidence late in games he expressed, “You can’t be scared to miss…you want to be the guy that makes all the big shots.”

Connecticut is led by senior guard Shabazz Napier, a member of the 2011 National Championship team which was led by current Bobcat Kemba Walker. Napier displayed confidence in his team as he proclaimed, “We believe in each other and continue to believe…we are going to win. That is what we do.” On the sidelines, Kentucky’s coach John Calipari will be seeking his second national title in three attempts. Meanwhile, Kevin Ollie is in only his second season as a head coach and is already demonstrating his ability to lead the Huskies through difficult situations.

Notre Dame's senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

Notre Dame’s senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

The women’s championship features two schools that have been among the best over the past several years. Notre Dame gained national exposure when it was led over previous years by Skylar Diggins. However, this year’s team was led by recently injured senior forward Natalie Achonwa and senior guard Kayla McBride. Both players have been members of Notre Dame teams that have defeated UConn several times over the past few season but not in the NCAA tournament. UConn is looking to repeat as champions and win a record ninth national title. Led by junior forward Breanna Stewart, the Lady Huskies are likely to be favored to win as they have championship experience and their main contributors are healthy.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

The University of Connecticut is looking to make history as they can achieve a feat only once completed before (in 2004) in having both the men’s and women’s team win the national title in the same year. Both teams are aware of their unique opportunity. As Lady Huskies guard Bria Hartley describes, “Our men are excited for us and we’re doing the same for them…both teams worked hard this year.” Interestingly, the University of Louisville had a chance to accomplish this feat last year but was unsuccessful. Yet another intriguing reason to watch both national championship games.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.