March 15, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The No. 21 University of Connecticut men's basketball team will face No. 5 Louisville in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship Game on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. ET at the FedExForum in Memphis. The game can be seen on ESPN with Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke on the call and will also be broadcasted live on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
The Huskies (26-7) are coming off a thrilling 58-56 victory over No. 13 Cincinnati on Friday night. Senior guard and American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) tallied a game-high 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting and now ranks fifth in UConn scoring history with 1,816 career points. Junior forward DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) contributed 14 points and also pulled in 11 rebounds in the Huskies' win. The Connecticut defense stifled the Bearcat offense in the second half, holding its conference foes to just 32 percent from the floor.
Louisville advanced to the championship game after downing Houston, 94-65 in the first semifinal on Friday evening. Russ Smith collected 42 points in the Cardinal's win, making 14 field goals and adding nine points from the free-throw line. Louisville finished the game shooting .500 (34-of-68) from the field.
The Huskies and Cardinals have met 15 times since the all-time series began in the 2000-01 season, with Louisville holding a slim 10-6 edge. The Cardinals sport a four-game winning streak over the Huskies, dating back to the last Connecticut win on March 12, 2011 in the BIG EAST Tournament Final, capping UConn's five-day tournament run.
Louisville swept the season series with the Huskies, most recently winning, 81-48, in UConn's regular season finale on March 8th. Daniels led the team with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting in the contest and also grabbed eight boards.
The Huskies are seeking their first conference tournament crown in The American and eighth overall conference title after winning a record seven championships in the BIG EAST. Connecticut finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 12-6 conference record. Overall, the Huskies have compiled a 36-26 mark in BIG EAST conference tournament action.