Arlington, TX (WLTX) --- The highly anticipated showdown between Kentucky and Connecticut on the hardwood for the national championship started with a sterling performance by Darius Rucker who sang the national anthem.

Rucker has sung the anthem at various USC athletic events and he did likewise before the 2013 Outback Bowl which saw Carolina face Michigan.

Rucker first came on the music scene as the lead singer of the group "Hootie and the Blowfish" which was formed in 1986 at USC with Mark Bryan, Jim "Soni" Sonefeld and Dean Felber.

In 2008, Rucker embarked on a country music career and has since scored six number-one hits and he's earned membership in the Grand Ole Opry.

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