Going Back-to-Back: How the UConn Huskies Pulled off a Repeat in the NCAA Final

UConn Huskies Pulled off a Repeat in the NCAA Final image

📖 Published on: April 10th, 2024

✍️ Updated: April 11th, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


For the first time since the Florida Gators in the 2006-07, the UConn Huskies have delivered a promising finish on the big stage by repeating as NCAA Champions – a tough feat that is seen as a challenging task for any college team in the United States, especially in one of the most competitive basketball scenes in the world. But how did the Huskies make sure that they would be able to emerge as historic winners in the game?


Back then, the Gators, led by Billy Donovan and had future NBA players in the likes of Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Corey Brewer, went on to team up again for one last ride as they went on to journey on the big stage with the hopes of repeating as winners in the NCAA Championship. The Gators finished with a 35-5 record and won the Championship game against Ohio State, setting a historic record that would only be broken decades later by the Huskies.


A Journey of Promising Runs in the Big Stage


UConn was initially set as the favorite to win in the competition to begin with, having won the previous edition of the NCAA. It does seem that they were going to have some struggles in their games, especially with the likes of Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins declaring for the NBA Draft. On top of that, the team also lost a total of eight players due to departures, which means that they would have to retool almost half of their roster before the 2023-24 season began.


UConn delivered the first back-to-back in NCAA since the Florida Gators image


The team centered around the likes of Alex Karaban, Cam Spencer, Stephon Castle, and Donovan Clingan. All of these players are hyped names for the NBA Draft next season, and they certainly took the chance to come up with a promising win that would definitely increase their stocks in the long run. So how did these players enjoy a dominant win in the NCAA?


Dominance Versus Stetson - First Round


UConn vs Stetson image

Unlike any team in the contenders for the NCAA, UConn has prided itself in being a team-ball game. This meant that they are really sharing the ball well without much hassle and creating opportunities with one another. This was seen well when they came up with a promising victory against the Stetson Hatters, scoring 52 points in the first quarter alone – showing that they have the dominant touch in their games while holding the Hatters to just 19 at that time. The Huskies wrapped up the game with a 91-52 win over the 16th seed to move on to the second round.


Gunning Down the Rivals - Second Round


The Huskies were matched up with the Northwestern Wildcats in the second round. This time, the team managed to come up with a promising win thanks to a dominant start, outscoring the Wildcats at 40-18 to begin the game, and finishing the game on a stable note at 75-58. This game saw the impeccable impact of Donovan Clingan on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds along with 14 points. On top of that, it was also Tristen Newton who played the floor-general role for the team, scoring 20 points and dishing out 10 assists, making one key play after another that proved to be a pivotal part of the team’s early rally.

UConn vs Wildcats image


Sweet Victory in TD Garden - Sweet 16


UConn vs San Diego image

San Diego was one of the few teams that have managed to come up with a fighting force against the UConn Huskies. The first quarter saw them trail the Huskies by 31-40, mostly thanks to Jaedon LeDee’s hot touch on the three. UConn, however, went on to respond with their big three in motion as Cam Spencer, Stephon Castle, and Cam Newton stepping up big in the second half. It was also key baskets from Hassan Diarra that allowed UConn to stay on the prowl for a lead late in the game while their defense smothered San Diego’s chances away for an 82-52 win.


Wire-to-Wire Over Illinois - Elite Eight


The Elite Eight was a different story – yet ended all the same. It was a dominant show for Donovan Clingan, who at the time was being hyped as one of the upcoming draft candidates in the NBA. The big man finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, showing his incredible dominance in the paint while the Huskies struggled to pull away early. However, the second quarter saw them finish with 49 points in that frame alone, wrapping up a 77-52 win that has set the tone for how formidable the Huskies have been when it comes to responding against adversity while playing some of the best teams in the league.

UConn vs Illinois image


Heroics Wading the Crimson Tide - Final Four


UConn vs Alabama image

Perhaps the closest game that the Huskies have played in the NCAA Tournament this year is their showdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide, who have been pulling off insane upsets so far. The first half had the Huskies leading by just 44-40 after an intense scoring affair to begin the game. It was also the first time that all five starters for UConn needed to score double figures to pull off a win, outscoring the Crimson Tide by 10 to close out an 86-72 win – the closest one they had for the whole tournament.


Defying the Odds - NCAA Championship


If we are going to talk about how we have seen the best of the best battle it out on the big stage, it does seem that this year was a promising campaign for NCAA with the two top seeds emerging all the way to the final. This has been hyped right from the start, and it does seem that many bettors were excited to see how this showdown would evolve as a promising game to look out for. However, the overreliance of Purdue on Zach Edey immediately backfired on them as it cost them the game from start to finish, all while the Huskies were firing well from all cylinders, with Tristen Newton putting up some of the most impressive finishes in the game. The Huskies finished the game with strong defensive stops, claiming a back-to-back title victory with a 75-60 win.

UConn vs Purdue image


Will the Connecticut Huskies Push for a Three-Peat?


The Huskies have set the bar for the most impressive NCAA victory in years. They are the first team to win every single game of the NCAA Tournament with at least a 14-point lead. On top of that, UConn has also set the record for the largest combined margin of victories in their games with 140 points – the most for any team in the history of the league. On top of that, they have set the biggest margin of victory with 23.3 points per game, showing how dominant they are when it comes to winning impressive games down the stretch.


A possibility of a three-peat image


A possibility of a three-peat? Why not? The only team to win more than three championships in a row was the UCLA Bruins – way back in 1967-73, claiming back-to-backs in 1964-65 and 1975-76. There’s no telling what the Huskies will need to do to come up with an impressive campaign to achieve the same peat, but no one can ever dare say that it is impossible as well.


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