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2023 March Madness: UConn defeats San Diego State in the national championship game


[Breaking news update, published at 11:38 p.m. ET]

The University of Connecticut gained its fifth males’s basketball national title with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State University on Monday night time at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Huskies tie Duke University with the most males’s national championships since 1985.

[Original story, published at 11:38 p.m. ET]

After a March Madness full of twists and surprises – all 4 No. 1 seeds failed to succeed in the Elite Eight for the first ever time in NCAA males’s basketball event historical past – it’s time for the grand finale as UConn faces San Diego State on Monday for the title.

But, if the last matchup is considerably of a shock for all these filling out their brackets earlier than the event, it’s the fruits of a powerful month for each the No. 4 UConn and No. 5 San Diego State.

UConn has a possibility to win its fifth title in 25 years however, regardless of this pedigree, it has not appeared in a championship game since 2014.

“It means lots to us. It means the whole lot we work for,” star ahead Adama Sanogo mentioned after reaching the last. “The work has paid off, and nonetheless going and maintain working and be capable to go Monday night time.”

The Huskies shook off this lengthy streak of underperforming from the very first game of this event. They gained their first two video games by a mean scoring margin of 19.5 factors, earlier than demolishing No. 3 seed Gonzaga by 28 factors in the Elite Eight.

The thumping victory was the largest profitable margin in the Elite Eight for 31 years, as UConn held the ‘Zags to a season-low 54 factors.

Connecticut center Donovan Clingan celebrates after defeating  Miami.

“We really feel like we’re the greatest protection in the nation,” UConn guard Tristen Newton mentioned, based on ESPN. “We really feel like folks don’t play groups like us yearly. The Big East is an actual bodily league, and coming from these conferences, I don’t really feel like they’ve groups that play protection like the Big East does.”

Then, in the Final Four, Sanogo and Donovan Clingan helped shut down the menace posed by Norchad Omier, as UConn defeated No.5 Miami 72-59.

“The effort that these guys gave defensively was unbelievable,” UConn head coach Dan Hurley mentioned in his post-match press convention.

“What Adama did in his matchup with certainly one of the most bodily inside guys we’ve confronted. What Tristen was in a position to do in phrases of his ground game, in his first half, in explicit.”

Sanogo’s double-double, contributing 21 factors, 10 rebounds, 9-for-11 from the ground, sealed victory.

Against the San Diego Aztecs, nonetheless, UConn will face a equally imperious protection which was on full show in the Final Four, limiting FAU to only eight photographs after halftime.

San Diego State’s protection has been key to its success and negated the menace posed by top-seed and event favourite Alabama in the Sweet 16, blocking eight photographs and forcing 14 turnovers as the Aztecs gained 71-64.

San Diego State sealed its spot in Monday’s title game in the most dramatic approach potential as Lamont Butler’s buzzer-beater sunk Florida Atlantic to win 72-71, prompting delirious celebrations on court docket.

San Diego State guard Lamont Butler (5) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning basket in the Final Four.

“Coach determined to name a timeout at the finish,” Butler advised reporters afterwards in a press convention.

“It was about seven seconds after we obtained the ball, and he advised me to go downhill, get one thing at the rim. They did job reducing me off. Once I seemed up, it was two seconds left, I knew I needed to make a shot. I obtained to a shot I’m comfy with. Went to a pull-up; glad it went in.”

In the Elite Eight too, the Aztecs solely simply squeaked previous their opponent after a controversial foul name with 1.2 seconds remaining and the game tied at 56 going the Aztecs’ approach.

Before this season, San Diego State had by no means even reached the Elite Eight however has proven in its final two video games that it has the will to go all the approach.

“We’ve all the time been knocked down,” mentioned the Aztecs’ Matt Bradley afterwards, based on ESPN. “But the largest factor we all the time do is get again up and maintain preventing.”

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