UConn Defeats Kentucky for Men’s Title
ARLINGTON, Tex. — All week, Shabazz Napier was asked about the Connecticut team of 2011, the team that began March as outsiders before rumbling through the N.C.A.A. tournament. He was a freshman on that team, as old as the five players in Kentucky blue joining him Monday for the opening tip-off in the national championship.
He could not compare them; the teams, he said, were just different, but Napier at least had a frame of reference. Connecticut was the anti-Kentucky, with two seniors and two juniors in its starting lineup, players who affirmed their loyalty through conference realignment and sanctions and postseason bans.
They stayed. They endured. They returned UConn to glory, a title just as improbable as Napier’s first. The final score was Connecticut 60, Kentucky 54, in a championship game that featured the two lowest seeds in N.C.A.A. history. The Huskies won this one, their fourth, at AT&T Stadium, where the second-year coach Kevin Ollie took his players on a brief tour in January, promising a return trip if they worked hard — and believed.