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Mike Lopresti | | April 6, 2014

Notes and quotes from the Final Four

  Kentucky's Julius Randle celebrates with Aaron Harrison in closing seconds of Saturday's game against Wisconsin.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Notes and quotes from the Final Four:

Really? A No. 7 seed vs. a No. 8 seed for the national championship game?

But logic ceased in this NCAA tournament a long time ago. And so, the fitting ending to a slightly mad month.

Connecticut vs. Kentucky is a match with many angles.

It is -- at No. 7 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Kentucky -- easily the lowest seeded title pairing ever. Not many would have expected the Huskies to be there as a No. 7. Fewer still would have predicted they'd be wearing their white uniforms as the higher seeded team.

It is the first championship game since 1966 that neither team was in the NCAA Tournament the previous year.

It is a rematch of the 2011 Final Four, when Connecticut edged Kentucky 56-55. The Huskies guard who went 1-for-7 with three turnovers in that game? Shabazz Napier. --

Kentucky's tournament run has turned into a fairy tale, with Aaron Harrison the wizard. In three consecutive games, he has delivered game-winning 3-pointers with 39 seconds left against Louisville, 2.3 seconds left against Michigan and 5.7 seconds left against Wisconsin. Prior to those daggers, he was 7-for-26 shooting in those games.

He has left his victims impressed.

"He's got that clutch gene," Wisconsin's Sam Dekker said.

Harrison's response: "I don't know about the clutch gene thing. I just like winning.

"You can't be scared to miss. You want to be the guy that wants to take the big shot."

Badgers head coach Bo Ryan: "Wanting it and doing something about it are two different things. He's done something about it, so you've got to give him credit."

Kentucky has its last four tournament games by a combined 11 points against Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin -- four teams who were a combined 124-20 before playing the Wildcats. This was the fourth game in a row they either were tied or trailed at halftime.

"I don't want to say luck," James Young said. "This is just our destiny."

Numbers of note:

• The NCAA got what it came to AT&T Stadium for -- a Division I men's basketball record crowd of 79,444.

• Kentucky, with all those freshmen, did not commit a turnover the last 24:29 of the game, and had four all night.

• Kentucky had only two 3-pointers against Wisconsin; the first basket of the game and the last basket of the game.

• Connecticut is now 7-1 all-time in the Final Four.

• The Huskies finished off Florida by making nine of their last 10 shots.

• Kentucky has won 11 NCAA tournament games in a row.

• Florida was 10-0 as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament before Saturday.

• The Gators were 36-1 this season against everyone not named Connecticut.

• Wisconsin made 19 of 20 free throws to set a Final Four record. But the one miss -- Traevon Jackson's with 16 seconds left -- was just enough to give Harrison room to win it.

• Wisconsin's last game in the Final Four was a rather unsightly 53-41 loss to Michigan State in 2000. The Badgers passed 41 points Saturday night 52 seconds into the second half.

What they were saying Saturday:

• "He saved his brother."
-- Kentucky head coach John Calipari on Aaron Harrison's winning shot, after Andrew Harrison had fallen for a fake and fouled Jackson on a 3-point shot. Jackson hit two of three free throws to give Wisconsin a 73-71 lead with 16 seconds left.

• "We're going at Aaron, boys. Anybody got a problem with that?'' 
-- Calipari's words in the huddle, according to him, as he set up the play for the winning shot.

• "I feel like we have six people playing on the court playing defense, because he is always on the sideline. Wherever the ball is at, he is sliding up and down the sideline."
-- Connecticut's Phillip Nolan, on how Kevin Ollie often gets into a defensive stance while coaching.

• "They can play that as many times as they want, it will still go in. I don't think it's going to not go in. So anybody that watches it more than once, I feel sorry for them. If you know the result, why would you? I take that back. I watched `Dumb and Dumber' about 20 times and I might watch it a 21st when I get home, and I know the ending."
-- Ryan, on the idea Harrison's shot will be replayed for years.

• "A lot of people were saying that it was going to destroy us, but our team thought it promoted us to get better."
-- Ollie, about the 81-48 loss to Louisville in early March.

• "We call it the ace of spades. That was the ace of the spades in the game and we wanted to take him out."
-- Ollie on the Huskies' determination to stop Scottie Wilbekin, who scored only four points.

• "We're not real good 10 up. For some reason, down 10, they grow hair on the neck." -- Calipari on his team's habit of coming from behind, but not holding leads.

• "I think for the first time in my life, I was a part of a group of guys that were really willing to bleed for one another."
-- Patric Young on the Florida team.

• "We talked Friday, and he was telling me that 'Nobody is paying attention to you.' I told him don't worry about, everybody will pay attention to me after Saturday."
-- Connecticut's DeAndre Daniels on a conversation he had with former head coach Jim Calhoun. Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.

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