ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 26: Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates after a play with teammate Donnell Beverly #2 during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 26, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

UConn Tops Arizona In Epic Elite Eight Showdown, 65-63

Arizona was in it until the very end, with Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne missing threes during the final possession of the game to salt away the victory for Connecticut.

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Connecticut Defeats Arizona In Elite Eight, 65-63

Arizona and Connecticut battled from start to finish, with the Huskies emerging victorious on Saturday afternoon in Anaheim. The final score was 65-63, but Arizona had a great chance to win the game.

During the final possession, Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne both missed crucial three point attempts, not being able to grasp victory from UConn.

The fact of the matter: Arizona didn't play well enough during the first half. There was no "second half explosion" like the one that occurred against Duke on Thursday in the Sweet 16. Derrick Williams was in foul trouble and couldn't provide an offensive spark until it was too little, too late.

Williams finished with 20 points, matching Kemba Walker's output for the Huskies. Jesse Perry put forth a solid effort for the Wildcats, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Connecticut deployed a very athletic style of play against Arizona, and led the game 32-25 at the half. While Arizona rallied and even took the lead at one point, the overall edge in talent went to the Huskies. Jim Calhoun and Sean Miller are both excellent coaches, and hugged after the game to symbolize the quality of the competition they faced today.

In the end, Arizona outperformed every expectation during March Madness. Many experts thought Texas would defeat them, and that turned out to be untrue. Not even Arizona fans really expected to destroy Duke in such a convincing fashion; they did.

As an ASU graduate, I was shocked and impressed by Arizona this March. They have all the momentum in the world, and with Sean Miller at the helm, Arizona is on the road to NCAA basketball relevance once again.


Arizona Wildcats Down At The Half To UConn, 32-25

Rough start for the Wildcats as Arizona’s super star, Derrick Williams sat much of the half with three fouls. The Connecticut front line held Williams to just six points and two rebounds in the opening 20 minutes of play.

UConn’s star, dynamic scoring guard Kemba Walker, leads all players with 12 points on 4-10 shooting. Walker, however, is just 1-6 from three. Arizona’s coach Sean Miller can’t be unhappy with that.

The Wildcats will need a strong second half performance from Williams to once again, come from behind and beat a higher-seeded team and advance to the Final Four.


Arizona vs. Connecticut Fan Blog Breakdown

With Arizona and Connecticut just about to tip off on CBS, it's time to take a look at what the SB Nation blogs are saying about this key matchup.

First up, The UConn Blog:

But entering the tournament, the Wildcats were under-the-radar - having missed the NCAA Tournament last year, they were at the top of a middling Pac-10 - before pulling off back-to-back last-second wins over Memphis and Texas.

And then Arizona went all explodey over Duke, going from down six at halftime to up 20 in one of the most stunning, entertaining, pants-shittingly scary (if you're a UConn fan) sequences of basketball I've ever seen.

Before Arizona-Duke? Maybe you can imagine UConn sighing in relief that they would avoid the defending champs. After? No chance. They've seen SF/PF/force of nature Derrick Williams make his statement to the world, they've heard the chattering classes proclaim Arizona the new "it" team, a terrifying matchup problem for a team that, surely by now, is at the end of its rope.

Next, we take a look at our friends on AZ Desert Swarm:

Wildcats second-year head coach Sean Miller went toe to toe with arguably the best active college basketball coach in the country in Mike Krzyzewski. 

Four national championships meets zero national championships. Three Naismith College Coach of the Year honors versus no such awards. Eight national championship appearances compared to zero. 

And Miller didn't flinch.

After Butler stunned Florida to make the Final Four for the second consecutive year, Arizona looks to be the second surprise entrant to the final round in Houston.

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