National title game numbers and words
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The national championship game, by numbers and words:
• 18 -- Combined winning margin of Kentucky in its five NCAA tournament games, the lowest for a national championship game team in the history of the event.
• 15 -- The combined seeding for the two teams Monday night: Connecticut at No. 7 and Kentucky at No. 8. The previous high was 11, with No. 3 Connecticut and No. 8 Butler in 2011. “Well, I don’t think we were an eight seed and I don’t think Connecticut was a seven seed ... but that’s where they seeded us,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said.
• 3 -- No records are kept for this, but it might be the first championship game between two teams who were each beaten three times during the season by one opponent: Connecticut by Louisville and Kentucky by Florida.
• 17 -- Teams ranked higher in the final AP than both teams in the national championship game. Connecticut was No. 18. The Huskies would be the lowest-ranked champion in 26 years.
• 18 -- Combined defeats for Connecticut and Kentucky, tied for the most ever in a championship game. Butler and Connecticut also had 18 in 2011.
• 3 -- National champions with double-digit losses. They all happened within six years in the 1980s: NC State (10) in 1983, Villanova (10) in 1985 and Kansas (11) in 1988. Kentucky, currently 29-10, would be the first in 26 years.
• 35 -- Aaron Harrison points in Kentucky’s past three NCAA tournament games.
• 9 -- Aaron Harrison points in the final 39 seconds of the past three games, or more than 25 percent.
• 56 -- NCAA tournament games coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari.
• 5 -- NCAA tournament games coached by Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie.
• 194 -- Combined college games played by the entire Kentucky starting lineup of five freshmen.
• 142 -- College games played by Connecticut senior Shabazz Napier.
• 5 -- National championships in the past 18 years by Kentucky and Connecticut.
• 9 -- Kentucky has trailed by at least nine points in its past four NCAA tournmament games, and come back to win.
• 8 -- Kentucky national championships, No. 2 on the all-time list.
• 11 -- UCLA national championships. A win Monday, and the Wildcats will be closing on the Bruins.
What they were saying Sunday:
• “It is an us-against-the world thing. We have a little swagger to us now.” -- Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison.
• “I saw pictures of people swinging from trees. It is a zoo back there.” -- Julius Randle, on the Kentucky fans back in Lexington, Ky.
• “You work so hard to get to the point where you have to believe in yourself, and probably Harrison, when he was younger, would be on the courts going, '3 ... 2 ... 1’ and he’d shoot the ball. And when you miss it, you’re going to say you got fouled.” -- Shabazz Napier on the recent late heroics of Kentucky’s Harrison.
• “I think I’m kind of too old for that.” -- Harrison, on whether he is being distracted by all the adulation over his winning shots.
• “My daughter [Erin] tweeted out she just became my second favorite 'Aaron.’ She’s still my favorite Erin.” -- Calipari, speaking of adulation.
• “Louisville beat us again [for a third time this season] in the [AAC] tournament, but that’s all right. We got better from it. That’s what we want to keep doing; every challenge, get better from it. Don’t get down on each other, stay together. I think that even brought us together. So I’m glad Coach [Rick] Pitino did that to us.” -- Connecticut head coach Kevin Oillie.
• “I laid in my bed about 1:30 ... and I said, 'You know what, I’m going to do the tape tomorrow.’ And as I laid there I said, 'These guys are fighting so hard for me, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do the tape now.’ So I was up until about 3:30 and got up about 7 o’clock this morning.” -- Calipari.