GameChangers (04/08/14)

By John Ewing
GameChangers, a look at plays that changed the outcome of the National Championship game. If you have a suggestion for a GameChanger please direct all ideas via twitter to @johnewing.


 
To highlight the Live ScoreCaster, we will take our in-game technology, Live ScoreCaster, to the next level to review the game-changing plays from NCAA National Title game and what the game would have looked like if the plays had turned out differently. 
 
Click the links for each game to see the Live ScoreCaster charts as well as more analysis in the new Game Breakdown section.

 
UConn vs. Kentucky
 
UConn lead by as many as 15 points in the first half but Kentucky pulled to within one with 8:13 left. A Shabazz Napier turnover gave the Wildcats an opportunity to take the lead for the first time. Aaron Harrison, who gave Kentucky its previous two wins with 3-pointers, missed from behind the arc. Kentucky never got that close again.
 
Had Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer been good, Kentucky would have taken a 50-48 lead and the Wildcats would have become 63% likely to win.

The Huskies never trailed in the championship game. However, UConn didn’t become the projected winner until 13:10 left in the 1st half and didn't take the projected lead for good until 15:14 left in the 2nd.


How unlikely was this championship?

The Huskies were just 5.3% likley to reach the Final Four and 0.8% likely to win the National Title before the tournament began.

UConn also needed overtime in their first game of the tournament against St. Joe's. Connecticut’s freshman center Amida Brimah forced overtime by completing a three-point play in the final minute. Brimah shot 57.1% from the free throw line for the season. UConn needed him to convert the free throw to tie the game. Essentially it was a 50/50 proposition that Brimah would make the shot.