15 Amazing Stats from UConn's National Championship

Breaking down all the numbers that counted for UConn's run to the title

The 2014 national championship was not a good one for the numbers people.

A No. 7 seed and a No. 8 seed reached the national championship game, a development that in some ways rendered the regular season moot. UConn also didn’t fit the statistical profile of a team to win the national championship, falling short of efficiency ratings that have been the trademark of every national champion for more than a decade.

This was even a loss for the numbers kept for the NCAA. Only a year after a postseason ban due to poor academic numbers, UConn was on college basketball’s biggest stage — and the Huskies’ best player made sure we took note of the NCAA’s questionable way of tracking academic performance.

We’re still going to look at all the key numbers anyway, the figures that proved this was one of the most unlikely national championship runs in NCAA history.

No. 7. UConn’s seeding on Selection Sunday, lowest to win a title since 1985.
Kentucky would have matched No. 8-seed Villanova’s title in 1985, the first year the field expanded for 1985. Still, UConn is the first team seeded this low to win a championship since Rollie Massimino’s team upset Georgetown 29 years ago.

No. 18. UConn’s rank in the final AP poll of the regular season.
While NCAA Tournament seeding aims to reflect the body of work for a season, the AP poll tends to reward recent performance and momentum. The Huskies ranked 18th in the final AP poll prior to the Tournament, marking the lowest rank for an eventual champion since Danny Manning and an unranked Kansas team won the title in 1988. UConn is the first team outside of the top 10 to win a title since 2003 Syracuse.

21.2. Points per game in the NCAA Tournament for Shabazz Napier.
How close did Napier come to matching his point guard predecessor, Kemba Walker? Pretty darn close. Napier scored 22 points in the championship game to raise his average to 21.3 points per game in the NCAA Tournament, 2.3 less than Walker during his championship run in 2011. The raw numbers were lower for Napier, but the 2014 Most Outstanding Player was a more efficient guard during his run to the title.

Kemba vs. Shabazz
Kemba Walker, 2011   Shabazz Napier, 2014
23.5 Points per game 21.2
6.0 Rebounds per game 5.5
5.7 Assists per game 4.5
1.5 Steals per game 2.5
43-of-107 (40.2 percent) Field goal shooting 38-of-82 (46.3 percent)
32-of-69 (46.9 percent) 2-point field goals 18-of-39 (46.2 percent)
11-of-38 (28.9 percent) 3-point field goals 20-of-43 (46.5 percent)
44-of-49 (90 percent) Free throw rate 31-of-33 (94 percent)
45.3 percent Effective field goal rate 58.5 percent
54.8 percent True shooting percentage 65.8 percent

7-0. Kentucky’s edge in McDonald’s All-Americans over UConn on Monday.
The Huskies became the first team since 2002 Maryland and only the second since 1979 to win a national title without a McDonald’s All-American. Granted, UConn has a McDonald’s All-American on the roster in Rodney Purvis, who sat out the season after a transfer from NC State.

3. Players with two national titles from UConn.
This isn’t exactly 2006-07 Florida when every key player returned to win back-to-back titles, but the list of players with two titles in the 64-team era is a short one. Shabazz Napier was an up-and-coming freshman on UConn’s 2011 title team. Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander were seldom used in 2011, but became valuable role players in 2014.

31 points. Margin of defeat for UConn against Louisville on March 8.
The Huskies became a No. 7 seed in part because of an 81-48 loss to Louisville on March 8. Before UConn, no eventual national champion lost a game by 30 points during the regular season. Only seven national champions endured a 20-point loss during the season, according to Patrick Stevens of d1scourse.com.

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