College Hoops

UConn tries to repeat as NCAA Tournament champions: Comparing Huskies to back-to-back title teams

UConn tries to repeat as NCAA Tournament champions: Comparing Huskies to back-to-back title teams


When UConn takes the floor in Glendale, Arizona at the Final Four, they will be two games away from making history and joining prestigious company. The reigning national champions and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament could become the first team to repeat as national champions in men’s basketball since Florida did it in 2006 and 2007.

After a dominant run in last year’s NCAA Tournament that included six wins by double-digits, the Huskies are once again the favorites to cut down the nets. UConn plays No. 4 seed Alabama in the national semifinals on Saturday and will face the winner of No. 1 seed Purdue/No. 11 seed NC State for the title on Monday if they advance.

The Huskies have won all four games in this year’s tournament by double-digits by an average of 27.7 points. UConn entered the tournament with the second-highest point differential (+17.1) behind McNeese.

UConn is on the verge of repeating despite losing Adama Sanogo, Jordan Hawkins, and Andre Jackson Jr. to the NBA. The Huskies reloaded by adding Cam Spencer from the transfer portal and star freshman Stephon Castle via high school recruiting. Those players joined All-American guard Tristen Newton, big man Donovan Clingan and sharpshooter Alex Karaban to form one of the top starting units in the country.

“Oh, it’s harder. It’s way harder,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said last week when asked about repeating. “Coaching’s harder. … Obviously, you’re managing your roster with the portal, with NIL. I mean, for us, you better be a more skilled coach these days because you’re dealing with a lot more stuff. For us, I think we’ve made it look easy in these past two tournaments, but it’s hard. We do the hard things really, really well, like the defense, the rebounding, the way that we play at the offensive end of the court. So, yeah, I mean, it’s tough. It’s not easy. It’s going to get tougher.”

Year (Record)
Coach
Future NBA players Road to the national title
2023 (31-8)
Dan Hurley
Adama Sanogo
Jordan Hawkins
Andre Jackson
First round: 87-63 win vs. (13) Iona
Second round: 70-55 win vs. (5) Saint Mary’s
Sweet 16: 88-65 win vs. (8) Arkansas
Elite Eight: 82-54 win vs. (3) Gonzaga
Final Four: 72-59 win vs. (5) Miami
NCAA title game: 76-59 win vs. (5) San Diego State
2024 (35-3)
Dan Hurley
TBD First round: 91-52 win vs. (16) Stetson
Second round: 75-58 win vs. (9) Northwestern
Sweet 16: 82-52…

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