On Monday night, the UConn Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 to win the school's fourth national championship. It was the end of a remarkable and improbable run for the Huskies, which were a No. 7 seed coming into the NCAA tournament and had to defeat the Nos. 2 (Villanova), 3 (Iowa State) and 4 (Michigan State) seeds in the East regional. In the national semifinal, they defeated the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the Florida Gators, before taking down the Gators' SEC rivals for the title.
Shabazz Napier, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, averaged 26.2 points per game in the Huskies' six-game stretch. For Napier, the title was a bookend of his freshman year national championship, in which the team was carried primarily by Kemba Walker.
In the cover story, senior writer Michael Rosenberg describes UConn's journey "from the brink of the abyss to a fourth national title." Indeed, the Huskies were not even eligible for last year's tournament due to poor academic standing. But behind second-year coach Kevin Ollie, the Huskies are back on top of the college basketball world and on the cover of Sports Illustrated again this week.
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