UCONN Builds The Shortest Stack in Brickfest 2011

UCONN Builds The Shortest Stack in Brickfest 2011

UCONN Huskies - 2011 National Champions

words // Nick Engvall

A win is win.

It surely wasn’t pretty, and it surely was far from expectations, but even though the UCONN and Butler matchup had more potential than reality actually had in store, the Huskies are the new NCAA National Champions.

The Huskies shot just 34.5 percent from the field, nearly 10 percent worse than their season average of 43.9 percent. Fortunately for UCONN, the Butler Bulldogs seemed to find nothing but iron and glass, shooting just 18.8 percent in Monday’s championship game. Butler’s typical late game heroics and hustle-hardest approach were nowhere to be found in the second half. Although at one point shortly after halftime, they were 8-44 from the field and still within five points, thanks to UCONN’s 14-42 shooting.

When the teams emerged from the locker rooms after the half, UCONN seemed to have slightly more poise. Big man Alex Oriakhi, who I said needed a double-double for UCONN to win, came through, finishing the game with 11 points on five-for-six shooting and 11 rebounds. Oriakhi was also intimidating the normally scrappy Butler inside game, blocking four shots and changing countless others.

As was expected, Connecticut guard Kemba Walker once again led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. A teary-eyed Walker, who led the Huskies to a 14-0 record in tournament play this season, was honored after the game with the Most Outstanding Player Award.

The UCONN victory gives the school their third National Title in school history, all under Jim Calhoun, and within the last 12 years.

Now Available: UCONN National Champions Fan Gear

 

NCAA Watch: A look at what sneakers are worn in the NCAA Tournament.

Alex Oriakhi with a two-handed dunk in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.Alex Oriakhi with a two-handed dunk that put it out of reach in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.

Kemba Walker, still unbeaten in the Jordan 6-17-23. Lucky shoes?Kemba Walker, still unbeaten in the Jordan 6-17-23. Lucky shoes?

Matt Howard struggled, going 1-for-14 in the Zoom Hyperfuse.Matt Howard struggled, going 1-for-14 in the Zoom Hyperfuse.

Niels Giffey with a bucket for UCONN in the Air Max Fly By.Niels Giffey with a bucket for UCONN in the Air Max Fly By.

Shelvin Mack, wearing the Zoom Hyperfuse, after hitting an impressive 3-pointer as the first half ended.Shelvin Mack, wearing the Zoom Hyperfuse, after hitting an impressive three-pointer as the first half ended.

Jeremy Lamb puts the final touches on Butler with a breakaway dunk in the Zoom Kobe V.Jeremy Lamb puts the final touches on Butler with a breakaway dunk in the Zoom Kobe V.

NCAA Watch: Pick an Underdog – VCU or Butler

NCAA Watch: Pick an Underdog – VCU or Butler

VCU holds the Regional Championship trophy.

words // Nick Engvall

Every year, the NCAA Tournament is filled with upsets and excitement, but this year has been a notch above the rest for many. For the first time in tournament history, the field began with 68 teams. Amazing as it may sound, one of those four teams that had to play an extra game just to get into the round of 64, the VCU Rams, is still alive and fighting for a shot at winning their school’s first national title.

VCU knocked off the only remaining number one seed, the Kansas Jayhawks, on Sunday to earn a Final Four matchup against the returning “underdogs,” the Butler Bulldogs. That means that this year, there will either be a number eight seed (VCU) or number 11 seed (Butler) playing at a shot for a national title, and we all know that everyone loves an underdog.

On the other side of the bracket this year is Kentucky, a team many thought lost too many players to the NBA, and UCONN, led by superstar in the making Kemba Walker. Kentucky and UCONN will battle to see who will battle the Cinderella VCU Rams or Butler Bulldogs in the second game of next Saturday’s Final Four.

Check out the NCAA Watch coverage below with photos courtesy of Yahoo.

NCAA Watch: A look at what sneakers are being worn in the NCAA Tournament.Alex Tyus of Florida in the Nike Air Max Fly By.Alex Tyus of Florida in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Shelvin Mack of Butler in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.Shelvin Mack of Butler in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.

Kemba Walker in the Jordan 6-17-23.Kemba Walker in the Jordan 6-17-23.

Derrick Williams in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.Derrick Williams in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.

Kyle Fogg in the Jordan Retro 6.Kyle Fogg in the Jordan Retro 6.

Joey Rodriguez of VCU in the Nike Zoom Kobe V.Joey Rodriguez of VCU in the Nike Zoom Kobe V.

Dexter Strickland in the Jordan Retro 3.Dexter Strickland in the Jordan Retro 3.

Kendall Marshall in the Air Jordan 2011.Kendall Marshall in the Air Jordan 2011.

DeAndre Liggins in the Jordan 6 Rings.DeAndre Liggins in the Jordan 6 Rings.

Brandon Knight in the Zoom Kobe V.Brandon Knight in the Zoom Kobe V.

 

NCAA Watch: AZ, UCONN, Butler, & Florida Prevail

NCAA Watch: AZ, UCONN, Butler, & Florida Prevail

Derrick Williams ups his draft stock in the Zoom Kobe VI.Derrick Williams ups his draft stock in the Zoom Kobe VI.

words // Nick Engvall

Thursday, another four games in the NCAA Tournament took place and subsequently we are four teams closer to finding out who this year’s national champions will be.

In the West Regional, it was UCONN defeating San Diego State in one of the most back-and-forth games of the tournament. With SDSU’s Kawhi Leonard getting in early foul trouble, you might have thought that UCONN would run away with this one, but SDSU gave UCONN quite the run. That is until a late technical foul call slowed their momentum. That’s when Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb took over, landing UCONN to the first spot in the Elite 8.

In the second West Regional game, Derrick Williams of the Arizona Wildcats crushed the Duke Blue Devils and their hopes for a repeat title. Williams scored 25 points in the first half to keep things close, but in the second half, he and the Wildcats put on one of the most impressive offensive displays of the year against the defending champs. Williams finished with a career high 32 points and won 93-77 to earn a matchup with UCONN on Saturday.

In the first Southeast Regional, BYU and Jimmer Fredette looked to reach the Elite 8 for the first time in history against Florida. Fredette scored 32, but didn’t seem to have his legs under him at times, and despite pushing the Gators to overtime, fell short 83-74. For Florida, it was Alex Tyus who shined brightest. Tyus finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds, which will certainly have NBA teams giving him a second look come draft day.

The second Southeast Regional game, eighth-ranked Butler looked to continue the magic they began in last year’s tournament against the Wisconsin Badgers. Butler’s Matt Howard led the Bulldogs to a 20-point lead just after halftime, but Wisconsin fought back. The Badgers stormed back behind Jordan Taylor and his 22 points, but couldn’t get closer than four points from Butler.

Butler will face Florida on Saturday. Check out some of the footwear from Thursday’s action below with photos courtesy of Yahoo.

NCAA Watch: A look at what shoes the players in the NCAA Tournament are wearing.

Vernon Macklin of Florida wearing the Jordan Retro 11 Space Jams.#32 Vernon Macklin of Florida wearing the Jordan Retro 11 Space Jams.

Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin in the adidas adiZero Rose PE.Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin in the adidas adiZero Rose PE.

Alex Tyus in the Air Max Fly By.Alex Tyus stepped up big in the Air Max Fly By.

Donnell Beverly defends in the Air Jordan 2011.Donnell Beverly defends in the Air Jordan 2011.
Shelvin Mack in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.Shelvin Mack in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.

Chase Tapley in the Jordan Retro 3 and Kemba Walker in the Jordan 6-17-23.Chase Tapley in the Jordan Retro 3 and Kemba Walker in the Jordan 6-17-23.

Jimmer Fredette in the Air Max Fly By, defended by Kenny Boynton in the Jordan Retro 11 Cool Grey.Jimmer Fredette in the Air Max Fly By, defended by Kenny Boynton in the Jordan Retro 11 Cool Grey.Jimmer Fredette in the Air Max Fly By, defended by Kenny Boynton in the Jordan Retro 11 Cool Grey.

Kawhi Leonard in the Graphite Jordan Retro 14.Kawhi Leonard in the Graphite Jordan Retro 14.

Jamaal Franklin in the original Air Jordan 20 (XX) Midwest.Jamaal Franklin in the original Air Jordan 20 (XX) Midwest.

Tim Shelton of Arizona warming up in the Jordan Retro 10.Tim Shelton of Arizona warming up in the Jordan Retro 10.

Derrick Williams in the Zoom Kobe VI, celebrates with Lamont Jones in the Pewter Nike Air Foamposite.Derrick Williams in the Zoom Kobe VI, celebrates with Lamont Jones in the Pewter Nike Air Foamposite.

NCAA Watch: Player Spotlight – Jimmer Fredette

NCAA Watch: Player Spotlight – Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Air Max Fly By.Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

words // Nick Engvall

Jimmer Fredette of BYU seems to be an unstoppable machine when it comes to scoring. Not only is he dangerous off the dribble, he’s shooting almost 41 percent from behind the arc. Jimmer has led the BYU Cougars into this year’s NCAA Tournament by averaging 28.8 points per game. While you might think that is impressive, he’s stepped it up in the tournament and is averaging 33 points a game so far, which grabbed him this week’s Player of the Week honors.

Fredette led the Cougars to the regular season Mountain West Conference title. Then, he followed it up by winning the MVP Award in the conference tournament, thanks to performances like the 52-point scoring spree (a new BYU record) against New Mexico, despite losing in the final to SDSU. Fredette was voted this year’s National Player of the Year by Basketball Times, CBSSports.com, SI.com and Sporting News.

Fredette’s leadership has put the Brigham Young Cougars in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1981. BYU will face Florida for a spot in the Elite 8 on Thursday.

Check out some of Jimmer Fredette’s footwear throughout his career at BYU.

NCAA Watch: Player Spotlight - Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.

Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Hyperize.Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Hyperize.

Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Air Max Hyperize.Jimmer Fredette in the Nike Air Hypermax.

Jimmer Fredette in the original Nike Hyperdunk.Jimmer Fredette in the original Nike Hyperdunk.

Jimmer Fredette in the Jordan Team Strong.Jimmer Fredette in the Jordan Team Strong.

Photos courtesy of Yahoo

NCAA: Eastbay Player of the Week – Jimmer Fredette

NCAA: Eastbay Player of the Week – Jimmer Fredette

words // Nick Engvall

The nation’s leading scorer in college basketball grabs this week’s Eastbay Player of the Week honors. BYU guard Jimmer Fredette has carried the Cougars through their first two games of the tournament by raising the bar on his already impressive season by scoring average of 28.8 points per game.

Fredette scored 32 points in BYU’s first NCAA Tournament game against Wofford in which the Cougars won 74-66. He then followed it up with a 34-point performance in their 89-67 blowout of Gonzaga. Although the senior from Glen Falls, New York is known for his seemingly unstoppable ability to score, he’s been even more of a floor general than ever before in the NCAA Tournament, dishing out six assists against Wofford and seven assists against Gonzaga.

Will this year’s leading regular season scorer and NCAA Tournament leading scorer get the Cougars to the Final Four?

 

NCAA Eastbay Player of the Week Jimmer FredetteJimmer Fredette in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

images via Yahoo