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UConn steamrolls San Diego State to win 5th NCAA title

The fourth-seeded Huskies defeated the fifth-seeded Aztecs 76-59 to win the school's fifth championship in the past 24 years.
Connecticut players celebrate after winning the men's NCAA national championship basketball game.
Posted at 9:54 AM, Apr 04, 2023

From preseason unranked to postseason unmatched, the University of Connecticut (UConn) men's basketball team strolled past San Diego State 76-59 Monday night in Houston to secure its fifth NCAA title in program history.

The Huskies not only won the championship, but put on one of the most dominant runs in March Madness history, winning all six games by an average of 20 points.

“We came into the season unranked,” coach Dan Hurley said. “So we had an edge to us to start the year to prove people wrong.”

From the opening tip-off, it was clear that the Huskies — a No. 4 seed  in the tournament — were a team on a mission. They quickly took control of the game, leaving the fifth-seeded Aztecs struggling to catch up.

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UConn's defense was on point, holding San Diego State to just 24 points in the first half. The Aztecs fought back in the second half and closed the gap to just 6 points, but it wasn't enough to stop UConn's Adama Sanogo and Tristen Newton, who combined for 36 points in the game. Sanogo, a big man from Mali, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after racking up his fourth double-double of the tournament.

While the Huskies were the last team standing, they had a short list of believers to start the season. 

The team was unranked in the first AP poll, with all eyes on North Carolina, a runner-up in the 2022 tournament that was bringing back much of its core roster. 

But Coach Hurley had no doubts in his squad, and it was UConn cutting down the nets as UNC watched from home after not even making the tournament. 

“We knew we were the best team in the tournament going in,” Hurley said. “We just had to play to our level.” 

The Huskies are early favorites to repeat as champions next season, but as this March Madness showed, it's better to take those "way too early" predictions with a grain of salt.