ARLINGTON, Texas — This college basketball season has underscored one thing: parity.
And the toughest field to seed in some time has netted a championship game Monday between seventh-seeded Connecticut and eighth-seeded Kentucky. It’s the first time since 1966 that two teams that weren’t in the NCAA tournament the previous season will play for the national title.
UConn was ineligible for the postseason last year, and Kentucky lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament to Robert Morris.
Could this matchup have been predicted? Well, that depends on when this season the question was asked. Both teams were ranked among the Top 10 and unranked at times. It’s clear at this point that both were seeded improperly.
‘‘It’s just going through the dark days believing,’’ UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. ‘‘They believe in each other. No matter if they’re down, no matter if they’re banned, no matter if they can’t play in the NCAA tournament, they believe.’’
Kentucky coach John Cali-pari praised the job Ollie has done, but he conceded he doesn’t know much about the Huskies outside of what he gleaned when he recruited some of their players in high school.
‘‘The issue now is I’ve got to be up all night watching tape and getting ready for them,’’ Calipari said. ‘‘I know their guards are good; I recruited a bunch of their guys. I know how good they are, but I don’t know how they play.’’