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View Count: 79 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Connecticut, Kentucky know how to perform at the big dance

ARLINGTON, Texas — Monday nights NCAA championship game at AT&T Stadium sets up as a matchup of over-achieving seedlings.
If you didnt know the history youd say it was nice to see the little guys finally breaking through the plexiglass backboard.
This No. 15 combination platter is the highest total number to play for the title since the NCAA started seeding in 1979. Chris Dufresne E-mail | Recent columns Also NCAA preview: Connecticut vs. Kentucky Dog or Cats? NCAA tournament offers a surprise final UConn upsets Florida, again, to reach NCAA final Kentucky, Aaron Harrison do it again with dramatic win over Wisconsin
NCAA BRACKET: Track how UConn and Kentucky got to the final
Poor old No. 7 Connecticut hasnt won an NCAA title since 2011 and luckless No 8 Kentucky hasnt hoisted a banner since 2012.
Oh, wait.
Connecticut and Kentucky are actually bluer-blooded than Tommy Lasorda. They are Cinder-fellas, not Cinderellas.
The NCAA selection committee (and most bracket pickers in America) may be surprised these schools reached the final game but, trust us, no one in Storrs or Lexington considers this an upset.
Louisville beat Connecticut three times this year and Florida defeated Kentucky three times, but what does that matter now?
Connecticut just needed some time to develop and Kentucky just needed to grow up.
I thought we just had too many competitors on this team just to let our season slide, Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle said Sunday.
Connecticut is in Mondays final tip because other players, particularly forward DeAndre Daniels, have stepped up in support of star guard Shabazz Napier.
Kentucky is 40 minutes from a net cut because its vaunted freshman class started to coalesce around the time of Selection Sunday.
Kentucky is riding one of the hottest hands in NCAA history in freshman guard Aaron Harrison, who has hit the game-winning shot in the Wildcats last three wins.
Man, hes a clutch player, Napier, a clutch player himself, said of Harrison. Hopefully it doesnt come down to his shot.
This is a game of forwards and guards but also a game of shadows.
Hovering over Kentucky is the ghost of Adolph Rupp and the unyielding expectations the Baron or Bluegrass left behind.
Lets face it: Kentucky is hell-bent on dislodging UCLA as the name brand of the NCAA tournament and the Wildcats are one win from creeping to within two titles of the Bruins record 11.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari, basically a gun for hire, feels the burden from sunrise to sunset.
He already led Kentucky to its eighth national title, in 2012, and that honeymoon lasted until he had the gall to miss last years tournament.
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