Greenberg’s pick: Talented Kentucky too much for UConn
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter April 6, 2014 7:24PM
Updated: April 6, 2014 10:14PM
ARLINGTON, Texas — In succession, Connecticut has beaten the two college basketball teams — Michigan State and Florida — that were playing better than anyone else at the time.
And UConn didn’t just beat the Spartans and Gators. It tore the life out of them, undermining everything those great teams had been doing so well.
And that, dear friends, is why I’m picking Kentucky to win Monday night.
If this is the Good Ship Stupid, I’m willing to go down with it. UConn is playing great. Likewise, Kentucky is playing its best basketball of the season. If this is A-game against A-game, I have to go with the team that has more talent.
Make that much more talent.
Seeing that — the talent differential in this matchup — doesn’t require a highly-trained eye. I’m beyond impressed by UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier, whose confidence, experience and scoring ability are off the charts. People here in Texas whose knowledge I trust have told me Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels will play in the NBA, too.
So that’s two future NBA players on the floor for Kevin Ollie’s team. Kentucky’s John Calipari will run five freshmen out there who have next-level ability. And when Calipari goes to his bench, he’ll find next-level guys there, too.
Frankly, I don’t think UConn can handle the Wildcats’ size. Certainly not inside, where Julius Randle lives, and maybe not on the perimeter, either. You tell me UConn’s Ryan Boatright is a lockdown defender at guard, I’ll tell you the Wildcats have perimeter guys — Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young — who can shoot over him.
But Wisconsin couldn’t handle Kentucky’s size, and the Badgers almost won anyway.
Thing is, if the Badgers had won Saturday night, I’d be picking them to beat UConn right now. So that makes this A-game against A-game scenario a pretty easy call.
Final score: Kentucky 72, UConn 66