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Gritty Ryan Boatright gave Kentucky fits at both ends all night, scoring 14 points while teaming with Napier to lock down the Wildcats’ heralded twins, Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

Kevin Ollie proved a more-than-able caretaker of the program Calhoun built, creating his own legacy by becoming the first coach to win a national title within two years on his first Division I job since Michigan’s Steve Fisher in 1989.

When it was over and the confetti fell, the seventh-seeded Huskies were on top of the college basketball for the fourth time as a program.

UConn is highest seed to win a national title since Rollie Massimino and eighth-seeded Villanova won it in 1985. The Huskies are the first team since Arizona in 1997 to win a national championship without winning a conference regular-season or tournament title.

They also won the national title without playing in the NCAA tournament or NIT the season before, a first since North Carolina State in 1974.

“You’ve got to continue to believe,” said Napier, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. “We had faith in each other and we are here. We won the whole thing. We didn’t listen to any doubters. We just went out there and did what we had to do.”

UConn’s title served as a validation of sorts for Ollie. He was not an entirely popular choice to lead the Huskies when Calhoun stepped down.

Ollie played in Storrs and had a 13-year NBA career, but had never been a coach before joining Calhoun’s staff as an assistant. After two short years, he was handed the reins to one of college basketball’s most storied programs.

The 41-year-old handled it well, combining Calhoun’s old-school methods with his own eternal enthusiasm to urge the Huskies to fight past limitations others placed on them.

By doing so, Ollie not only proved he could fill Calhoun’s shoes, he joined an elite group of Georgetown’s John Thompson and Arkansas’ Nolan Richardson as the black coaches in Division I to lead teams to a national title.

“I just wanted to come in and do this job and nobody looking at my color, just what I’m doing Xs and Os, but most importantly the impact I’m having on young kids’ lives,” Ollie said. “I just want to coach. I want to coach at the greatest university. And I have this job and we’re national champions.”