The first time Connecticut faced Florida on Dec. 2, it ended with a loose ball being tapped back to Shabazz Napier for a hoop and a 65-64 win at the buzzer.

Each went on its own path. The Huskies (30-8) had some struggles before climbing through the East Region to claim a berth in the Final Four. The Gators (36-2) haven’t lost since.

“From that game, I just remember a lot of scrambling on defense,” UConn’s Ryan Boatwright said. “We were helping each other. Coach (Kevin Ollie) showed us the tape before we started winning these games, we got back together, and that tape is crazy. We were everywhere, we were helping each other, we were closing out right and we were rebounding the basketball. So when we go out there and play them, we’ve got to play great defense.”

Napier’s shot has been shown over and over leading up to Saturday’s rematch in the Final Four semifinals.

“It was a dogfight, a tough game, and it came down to one last shot,” he said. “And I expect it to be the same, a dogfight. And Coach is going to get us prepared for this game and let’s get down there and do our thing.”

Ollie is the fourth coach in the modern era to take a team to the Final Four in his first tournament experience. As a pro, he considered himself a coach on the floor and often studied other teams.

“I played with 11 different teams in my 13-year (NBA) career,” Ollie said. “I’ve seen different offenses, defenses, different ways a coach can communicate with his players. So, of course, I wanted to have a great organization. I wanted to have a great career. Fortunate for me, it didn’t happen like that for me because now it’s really helping me out. I used to keep all the scouting reports. My teammates used to get on me a little bit, What you doing, why you keeping them scouting reports? I wanted to see what other teams were doing.

“I wasn’t the most talented guy. I had some talent. I had to watch tape, watch film, scout my opponent to get the best advantage. I was getting thrown in there 10 minutes, 5 minutes, so I needed to know exactly what was going to happen to make those 5 minutes meaningful, for another team to see me and bring me in and giving me a contract. I think I did a pretty good job with that.”

The win against the Gators has become a reference point.

“We took a lot from that game,” Ollie said. “The resiliency that we had, we got down in that game and came back. We played hard. We played scrappy. They are a tough team to face. Their experience in being in Elite Eights three straight years, now finally making it to the Final Four. How hard they play, the respect I have for Coach (Billy) Donovan is out of this roof, the way he’s built that program, took it over, took it to another level.”