This Saturday night in the 2014 Final Four, the most anticipated rematch of the entire year in college basketball will take place as the UConn Huskies will take on the top overall seed Florida Gators for the right to move on to the national championship game in Arlington.
Florida is the hottest team in the nation, riding the wave of a 30-game winning streak to what they hope will be another national title.
However, their last loss? Yes, to the UConn team that they’ll be facing on Saturday in the Final Four, back in early December.
Still, despite this fact, not many are giving the Huskies the best chance in the world to pull off the upset again, this team is playing its best brand of basketball at just the right time with other players stepping up, junior forward DeAndre Daniels in particular.
In the Sweet 16 win against Iowa State, Daniels stepped up in a huge way, dropping in 27 points and adding in 10 rebounds. In the Elite 8 win over Michigan State, he nearly got himself a double-double again, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds.
There’s no doubt that UConn will have to get a complete effort from everyone on the floor Saturday, and I had the chance to ask CBS NCAA Tournament analysts Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr about the impact that Daniels needs to have on this team to pull out the win.
“He’s definitely going to have to play well,” Anthony said. “He brings a quickness to the game that neither Iowa State nor Michigan State were ready for. UConn, overall, is probably the quickest team in this field.”
Anthony went on to add how Daniels’ biggest impact might not be scoring points, rather his impact on the boards.
“If UConn is going to win this game, the need to win on the offensive glass, because Florida is a great rebounding team.They need to win the rebounding game and play in transition, because if UConn has you playing a lot in transition, you’re going to get hurt, and that’s where they can win this game as well as where Daniels can have his biggest impact.”
Kerr added a little bit more to Anthony’s sentiments about UConn and the impact of Daniels on the potential win.
“I definitely agree with Greg in that UConn is the quickest team that I’ve seen all year. I think what Daniels brings to this one the most is his ability to run the pick-and-pop. He needs to be effective in this area against Florida in order to balance out the offense. He’s going to need to get his chances at knocking down some perimeter shots, which he’s proven he can be effective at.”
We’ll see on Saturday whether or not the Huskies and Daniels can bring all of this to light, but at least we know, they have done it before.