By Marc Lawrence, Playbooksports.com — A national championship game no one saw coming is on tap, with the 2023 NCAA men’s tournament concluding with a matchup between the San Diego State Aztecs and the UConn Huskies in Houston.
With no top seeds in the Final Four, this was one of the most unpredictable tournaments of all time. As we prepare for the final game, here’s a look at how both teams got to this point and an early prediction for who will be cutting down the nets…
San Diego State: Top overall seed Alabama was one of the favorites to win the tournament, but the Aztecs’ defense held them to 32.4 percent shooting from the floor in the Sweet 16. Crimson Tide star Brandon Miller was especially frustrated by San Diego State’s defense. He shot 3-of-19 from the floor and scored just nine points. Yes, they can ‘D’ up.
UConn: The inside-out combo of Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo has taken over in the tournament. The Huskies have been dominant on both ends of the floor, holding one of the nation’s top offenses in Gonzaga to just 54 points in the Elite Eight while lighting up a good Arkansas defense for 88 points in the Sweet 16.
Go Figure — ESPN Stats & Info reports UConn has outscored its opponents by 103 points in this NCAA Tournament, the 7th team all-time with a points differential of at least 100 entering the national title game.
Of the previous 6, five of them would go on to win it all. The only exception? Duke in 1999, which lost to… UConn.
And now this… Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, there have been five teams to enter an appearance in the National Championship having won each tournament game by double digits –
• 2018 Villanova
• 2016 UNC
• 2009 UNC
• 2001 Duke
• 2000 Michigan State
• And now 2023 UConn.
They are like a bad penny that just won’t go away