Madison Square Garden was the Huskies’ home arena Sunday, for all intents and purposes.
“Our fans come here, and as we always say, it’s like our third home,” Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier said, “so we feel real comfortable here.”
The vocal fan base made it clear where its loyalties were from start to finish as the No. 7 seed ousted No. 4 Michigan State, 60-54, in the East Regional final to earn its first Final Four berth since winning the national championship three years ago.
The Huskies (30-8) will face Florida, the last No. 1 seed standing in this NCAA Tournament, on Saturday in Arlington, Texas. UConn is responsible for one of the two Gators losses this season, a 65-64 nail-biter on Dec. 2 in Storrs, Conn.
Napier was just a contributing freshman when the Huskies beat Butler in the 2011 final. Now, he’s Connecticut’s senior leader who carried his school to another Final Four with 25 points yesterday.
“It’s a special feeling to continue to create our history and win games here,” Napier said of playing at the Garden.