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Champions Bracket: 2004 UConn vs. 1999 UConn

tournament

7) 2004 – Connecticut Huskies (33-6)
G – Ben Gordon, Jr (18.5p, 4.7r, 4.5a)
C – Emeka Okafor, Jr (17.6p, 11.5r, 1.0a)
G – Rashad Anderson, So (11.2p, 2.9r, 0.8a)
F – Charlie Villanueva, Fr (8.9p, 5.3r, 0.7a)
F – Denham Brown, So (8.9p, 3.9r, 1.2a)
PG – Taliek Brown, Sr (6.3p, 3.8r, 6.5a)
C – Josh Boone, Fr (5.9p, 5.8r, 0.7a)
10) 1999 – Connecticut Huskes (34-4)
G – Rip Hamilton, Jr (21.5p, 4.8r, 2.7a)
PG – Khalid El-Amin, So (13.8p, 2.8r, 3.9a)
F – Kevin Freeman, Jr (12.2p, 7.3r, 0.8a)
G – Albert Mourning, So (7.1p, 2.5r, 1.1a)
G – Ricky Moore, Fr (6.8p, 3.6r, 3.6a)
F – Edmund Saunders, So (6.0p, 4.7r, 0.7a)
C – Jake Voskuhl, Jr (5.5p, 6.4r, 1.1a)

It was not planned to have two University of Connecticut teams play against each other in the first round but that is what happens when one school wins 25-percent of the championships over the past 16 years.

Emeka Okafor - Connecticut

Emeka Okafor – Connecticut

Both of these teams feature some of the best players in all of college basketball when they were playing. Rip Hamilton was an dangerous as any player shooting the ball and Khalid El-Amin may not have panned out at the next level but he was a great college point guard and remarkable during the tournament. But it was still Hamilton’s playground. He averaged 24.1 points per game over the six-game run. Those two created a tremendous backcourt that put up points, moved the ball and got everybody else involved and made it easier for them all to score. Kevin Freeman held down the paint and Jake Voskuhl did the dirty work on the boards and playing defense.

But even as good as that duo was their 2004 duo was better. Emeka Okafor was the best college basketball player around in 2004 and Ben Gordon was one of the most dangerous scorers around. Nobody could beat Okafor inside. He was never the most polished scorer but his hard work and strength helped him put the ball in the next quite a few times in the game. Where he really stood out was on defense. Okafor was like a brick wall inside and nobody got past him. When players tried and their contested shots bounced off the iron Okafor came down with the rebound.

He was the key to the entire thing for that UConn team. With teams having to crash inside and double-team him Gordon was constantly left one-on-one outside and Rashad Anderson was constantly given miss matches. Charlie Villanueva, Denham Brown and Josh Boone were young players all coming into their own and crashing hard inside.

That sort of dominance inside always beats a team run by guards, no matter how good those guards were.

Okafor and company would eventually force a poor interior squad to shoot way more than they should and when they get down force them to shoot some more. The 1999 squad would probably hit a lot of those shots early on but eventually they’ll stop falling and the 2004 team would run away with the victory.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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