Keys to winning the 2014 NCAA championship

Keys to winning the 2014 NCAA championship

Credit: Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: James Young #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates with his teammates on the court after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 75 to 72 in the midwest regional final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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by USA TODAY Sports

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 7 at 11:08 AM

(USA TODAY) -- NCAA championship has been decided by great plays and great mistakes. STATS has identified three factors that could decide the winner of Monday night's game between Connecticut and Kentucky:

-- Falling Behind: Could it be that the team that faces an early deficit actually has an advantage? Both Connecticut and Kentucky have trailed by at least nine points in four of their five NCAA Tournament games. The Wildcats have been behind or tied at halftime in four straight games, but have outscored their opponents by a combined 25 points in the second half in the tournament. UConn has a plus-36 point differential in the second half and overtime in its tournament games.

-- Rebounding: Kentucky appears to have a significant edge on the boards; its starters are, on average, 2.4 inches taller than UConn's starting five. In the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats are outrebounding their opposition by 9.0 rebounds per game, grabbing 13.2 offensive boards per contest. For the season, they rank second in the nation with a rebound differential of plus-9.7 per game. The Huskies have exactly one more rebound than their opponents through five tournament games.

-- Protecting the Basketball: Connecticut has outscored its opponents by 41 points in the NCAA Tournament – with a plus-32 advantage in points off turnovers, 84-52. On Saturday, the Huskies held Florida to the shockingly low total of three assists while forcing 11 turnovers. For all the scoring he's done in the tournament, don't overlook Shabazz Napier's 12 steals as a key to the Huskies' success. Meanwhile, Kentucky has a minus-9 turnover differential in its tournament games.
 

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