The Kentucky Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies are the last teams standing in the NCAA tournament and Final Four. With the Wildcats and Huskies meeting for the national championship on April 7, it pairs together two of the most prolific, decorated programs in college basketball. Nevertheless, a Kentucky-Connecticut Final Four finale technically qualifies as the most unlikely national title game of all time.
The Huskies are the lower seed in an NCAA tournament game for the first time since the round of 64, when they nearly lost to the St. Joseph's Hawks. Nevertheless, seventh seeded Connecticut will wear home uniforms in a national title showdown with eighth seeded Kentucky.
In any other year, it wouldn't be out of the blue for the Wildcats and Huskies to be in the final. But in this particular season, Kentucky and Connecticut barely got through the regular season, overcame horrific late losses, rose back up to lose in their conference title games, were underseeded to an unusual degree for them, yet rose to their most unlikely runs ever through the Final Four.
Now it can end with the Wildcats' second national championship in three years, or the Huskies' second in four years. In fact, when Connecticut won its last title in 2011, it beat none other than Kentucky to start the Final Four, before its ugly win over the Butler Bulldogs two nights later.
It was also the last NCAA tournament loss for the Wildcats, who avenged it with their far easier run to the 2012 national championship. Yet in 2013, Kentucky missed the Final Four and the entire tournament altogether, as did Connecticut. The Wildcats missed it because they collapsed on the court, while a poor academic performance off the court from the Huskies led to a one-year tournament ban.
In 2013-14, the Wildcats were expected to reach the Final Four and much more right from the start, while the Huskies merely met expectations by reaching the NCAA tournament. But for once, neither Kentucky nor Connecticut were pegged as favorites when March started -- especially with the way they performed before their conference tournaments.
The accompanying list details how the Wildcats and Huskies made it back to the mountain top anyway, in ways these storied programs -- and the NCAA tournament at large -- have never seen before.