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UConn Wins Title in Texas…Again

Publish Date:04/04/2023
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

March Madness basketball pitch

The Madness has come to an end. Not because it’s no longer March, but because the nets have been cut down after the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game. The winner was also the Connecticut Huskies, who defeated San Diego State, 76-59.

For the Huskies it may have felt like deja vu. This is the third time the school has won a national title in Texas, the others were in 2004 (in San Antonio) and 2011 (also in Houston). This is the fifth national title for UConn since 1999, the most in NCAA men’s basketball.

The Huskies, coached by Dan Hurley, were the most dominant and talented team in the tournament. They became just the third team this century to win every one of their tournament games by 10 or more points. The last time it happened was in 2018 by Villanova. Over the last four games of March Madness, Connecticut trailed for a combined 5 minutes and 22 seconds. Like the famed thoroughbred Secretariat, UConn established a lead and just stayed there, lengthening it until they vanquished their opponents.

San Diego State won 32 games but needed a 33rd, and their second-half comebacks fell one short. In each of the Aztecs last two games, they scratched back from halftime deficits to win. But on Monday night on the biggest stage in college hoops, SDSU was unable to get to the top of the hill. The Aztecs fell as far as 14 points back in the second half before reducing the Huskies lead to five. But a 9-0 run after the four-minute mark sealed it for UConn.

The Huskies now have five championships, which ties them with Duke for the fourth-most in men’s college basketball. The school has a combined 16 titles between the men’s and women’s programs, the most in NCAA history.

With titles under three different coaches in the last quarter century, Connecticut is making a case to take its place among the “blueblood” programs in men’s basketball. Perhaps all that’s needed in the future is a sixth title to surpass Duke.

Huskies Shook Off Early Aztecs Run

After the opening tip-off, the Aztecs showed great energy and scored four of the first five baskets. They built a 10-4 lead, but UConn was steady and went on a 16-2 run that gave them a lead they never vanquished.

In the first half, SDSU suffered through an 11-minute stretch without a field goal, as they watched UConn’s fierce frontcourt manhandle them on defense. The Huskies ended up with 30 defensive rebounds and eight blocked shots on the night. But most importantly, they blanketed San Diego State and held their opponent to just 32.2% shooting. The Aztecs missed numerous layups and floating shots in the paint, pestered by Connecticut defenders. At the half, the Huskies led the game 36-24.

Sanogo Stars on Both Ends of the Court for UConn

When Adama Sanogo was a child in Mali, he was a soccer player, like all of his friends. But when he was 12 years old he started to play basketball because he was experiencing a rapid growth spurt. Eventually, Sanogo sprouted to 6 feet, 9 inches, and ended up in the United States playing high school basketball. A few years later he was recruited by Connecticut. He was a quick learner, and started 20 games as a freshman just two years ago.

On Monday in the National Championship game, a muscular, imposing Sanogo shut down the Aztecs post game. In 20 minutes of playing time, Sanogo grabbed 10 boards and scored 17 points to be the most important player on the court. He joins Kemba Walker (2011), and Shabazz Napier (2014) as Most Outstanding Players for Connecticut during title runs in the NCAA tournament.

Tristen Newton was the high scorer for the Huskies with 19, on 5-of-11 shooting. He also pulled in 10 rebounds.

The early NCAAB National Championship odds from sportsbooks have the Huskies as favorites to win the NCAA championship title in 2024. FanDuel lists them as +1000, which means a winning $100 bet on Connecticut would garner you $1,100, including your original wager.

But debate over next season can wait for a few days. College hoops fans, the real ballers out there, they are celebrating the conclusion of one of the most thrilling March Madness runs in history.

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