UConn stays a males’s faculty basketball powerhouse that is mindless in any respect

With a 76-59 win over San Diego State that by no means occurred Actually had doubts, the 2022-23 Connecticut Huskies accomplished probably the most dominant nationwide championship runs in NCAA Males’s Basketball Event historical past.

The numbers, a few of which I am guessing you’ve got already seen, are staggering.

The primary stat is the only: UConn is the primary workforce in match historical past to win six video games by 13 or extra factors. The 72-59 Remaining 4 victory over Miami, which additionally by no means appeared in jeopardy, was technically the hardest take a look at the Huskies confronted throughout March Insanity.

As if that wasn’t sufficient, UConn additionally turned the primary nationwide champion in historical past to win all six of their video games by double figures whereas retaining all six opponents to 65 factors or much less.

We may proceed right here, however the gist is all you want. Connecticut was Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote: Positive, generally there have been different individuals who did good and funky issues, however… come on.

All in UConn’s run to a fifth nationwide championship on the present screams “a dominant No. 1 seed who seemed like a nationwide champion all season.” But that isn’t the case right here.

Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Pictures

Along with being the primary workforce in 12 years to begin the season unranked and end it high, Connecticut’s three-week coup via the NCAA match truly he clicked a streak of 4 consecutive No. 1 seeded Nationwide Champions. In the meantime, the Huskies turned solely the second No. 4 in historical past to cross nets, becoming a member of the Arizona Wildcats in 1996–97.

No faculty basketball workforce had extra non-conference opponents, as UConn gained all 17 video games it performed towards non-Grand Jap enemies and gained all 17 of these video games in double figures. Nonetheless, in convention play, the Huskies went 13–7, tied for fourth place, and have been knocked out by Marquette within the semifinals of the Large East match. These two information make them solely the fifth nationwide champion to not win both the common season or the post-season league championship.

These eight losses that UConn ends the season with? Probably the most by a nationwide champion since… UConn misplaced eight in 2014, which is essentially the most since… UConn misplaced 9 9 in 2011. Then you must go all the way in which again to “Danny and the Miracles” from Kansas, who misplaced 11 video games earlier than a stunning efficiency within the 1988 nationwide championship.

In case you sense a pattern right here, there is a purpose for it.

Connecticut’s all-time profile as a top-level faculty basketball program is just not solely distinctive, but in addition in a galaxy of its personal. It additionally would not appear to make any sense.

Whereas most high faculty basketball packages tout no less than a couple of nationwide championships from an period when solely a handful of groups performed within the NCAA match or when the game was not totally built-in, UConn is the alternative. Just about all the program’s historical past – which presently boasts an ideal 5-0 file in nationwide championship video games – is confined to 1990 and past.

Previous to 1999, UConn had by no means performed within the Remaining 4. Since then, the Huskies have made it to the game’s largest stage six instances and reduce the nets on all however a kind of journeys. Their 5 nationwide titles are two greater than another program in the identical timeframe, and their win on Monday night time made them the primary program to rent three consecutive coaches who all gained nationwide championships (solely three different colleges – Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina – Received titles below three completely different head coaches, interval).

Nonetheless, there are many individuals who say UConn wasn’t the best males’s basketball program of the twenty first century, and people arguments are usually not with out benefit.

Seven instances within the final 14 years, Connecticut has not even superior to the NCAA Event. In 5 consecutive seasons from 2016–17 to 2020–21, the Huskies haven’t gained greater than 19 video games. They ended up with a shedding general file within the first three of these seasons.

UConn hasn’t been #1 or #2 in Large Dance since 2009. They’re the one present to win a nationwide championship as a non-second seed since third seed Florida gained the 2006 nationwide title…and once more, they did it thrice.

As for these three championships: all of them confronted off towards tremendous bizarre different nationwide finalists.

In 2011, UConn defeated eighth-seeded Butler in what made the Bulldogs the bottom scoring share of any workforce in NCAA match historical past—not solely in nationwide championship historical past, however everybody match in NCAA match historical past. Three years later, the No. 7 seed Husky took on the No. 8 seed Kentucky in a really odd conflict of not-so-titans. Then there was Monday night time when Danny Hurley’s workforce stopped San Diego State from claiming its first ever five-seat nationwide champion and first non-powered convention champion since 1990.

Hell, even the 2004 workforce performed towards the third-seeded Georgia Tech workforce, which was a shock finalist for many.

The upset in ’99 by high seed Duke, nonetheless, was legit and spectacular. The primary half of Ricky Moore endlessly.

Whereas Connecticut nonetheless falls in need of the highest 25 groups within the sport’s historical past when all-time victories are counted, no present was extra distinguished within the first weekend of April for teenagers and 20-year-olds than the Husky. Evaluate that to the truth that it’s now learn by 48-year-olds (thanks, by the way in which) who’ve solely seen UCLA win one nationwide championship, and 28-year-olds who’ve by no means seen it.

The last word query is, what can we make of this present that had 11 fewer regional finals than Kansas and 11 fewer Remaining 4 appearances than Duke, however now has as many (Duke) or extra (Kansas) nationwide championships than each? Hell, I do not know. But when there is a freak faculty basketball season that appears to be spiraling uncontrolled towards a freak NCAA match, I do know it is my selection.

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