4-seed UConn fends off Aztecs for 5th NCAA title

4-seed UConn fends off Aztecs for 5th NCAA title

Although only earning a 4-seed to start off the tournament, the University of Connecticut Huskies proved to be a dominant force in Division 1 NCAA Basketball, holding off San Diego State to clinch their fifth championship since 1999 and capping off an exciting season of March Madness.

From the first minute of the second Final Four game of the night, the Huskies controlled the tempo and held the momentum from the Miami Hurricanes. Opening up the game with two back-to-back threes, Connecticut was a force to be reckoned with from start to finish. Being the only team in the 2023 Final Four to previously appear, the experienced UCONN handled their business in simple fashion. 

The matchup for the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball championship game was set following a similarly exciting night of Final Four madness, with the San Diego State Aztecs secured their spot in stunning fashion, while from the first whistle the Huskies were the favorite to lock up their spot in the final run for the national championship. San Diego State trailed the Florida Atlantic Owls for the entire second half until Lamont Butler buried a game-winning midrange pull up jumper at the buzzer to provide the Aztecs a nail biting 72-71 victory. 

The second game was not nearly as thrilling as UCONN provided a beatdown on the University of Miami Hurricanes from the opening tip. 

For the first time in tournament history, 4-seed and 5-seed teams would be matching up with each other on the largest stage in collegiate sports, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament championship, but the madness didn’t start there. Happening only once before 2023, the 16-seed FDU Knights knocked out the top seeded Purdue Boilermakers in the round of 64. Also, for the first time, not a single 1-seed survived past the Sweet Sixteen, leaving an immense amount of room to keep writing the Cinderella stories of the tournament. 

Most notably, the absence of all 1 seeds from the Elite 8 and the rest of the 2- and 3-seeds dropping off before the Final Four created a tale for the underdogs in the backend of the tournament. March Madness has always been filled with upset after upset, but now teams with smaller and smaller chances seem to be doing the impossible and proving the country wrong.

In the first game of a basketball filled night in Houston, college hoops fanatics were provided with the nailbiter they have been waiting for. After trailing the FAU Owls deep into the second half by a margin as large as 14, the Aztecs locked in and propelled themselves to take the lead in stunning fashion. 

With only seconds remaining ticking off the clock, Lamont Butler dribbled his way to the baseline with every eye in the stadium following his every move. He stepped back to give himself that inch of space he needed to hit a jumper that sent the rest of the Aztecs’ bench bolting out onto the floor to celebrate their incredible victory.