UConn Crushes Purdue to Become First Repeat NCAA Hoops Champions Since 2007

UConn Crushes Purdue to Become First Repeat NCAA Hoops Champions Since 2007

He may be the best player in the nation — but on Monday night, Zach Edey was no match for college basketball’s reigning powerhouse.

In a 75-60 win in Glendale, Arizona, that was almost an anti-climax, even though it was between two No. 1-seeded teams, the University of Connecticut Huskies knocked off the Purdue Boilermakers with a balanced performance that offset Edey’s 37 points and 10 rebounds for Purdue.

Huskies guard Tristen Newton was the top scorer for the national champions with 20 points, although four of five UConn starters put up double digits, according to the stat sheet via The Athletic.

It marked the culmination of a dominant run for the Huskies, coached by Dan Hurley, which became the first team to repeat as national champion in Division I basketball since the University of Florida won it all in 2006 and 2007.

The 15-point margin of victory on Monday was almost the closest the Huskies had come to being defeated throughout March Madness, believe it or not.

They blew out Stetson 91-52 in the first round and Northwestern 75-58 in the second.

In the Sweet 16, the Huskies dispatched San Diego State 82-52, and in the Elite Eight, they trampled the University of Illinois 77-52.

The Huskies’ Final Four win over the No. 4-seeded University of Alabama Crimson Tide was the closest they came to being defeated — only squeaking by with a 14-point win, 86-72.

Purdue, likewise, didn’t have many close calls, although an Elite Eight victory over the University of Tennessee was a relatively tight six-point affair.

“I think this is up there with one of the best two-year runs any program has ever had,” Hurley said after the game, according to the New York Post.

He compared the team to the Gators of the 2000s and the Duke Blue Devils — repeat March Madness champs in 1991 and 1992.

“I can’t say anything about Duke, because that’ll p*** my brother off,” he said. “To me it is more impressive than what Florida and Duke did because they brought back their entire teams. We lost some major players.”

Hurley’s brother Bobby, who currently coaches at Arizona State, was a star with the Duke Blue Devils championship teams. He would go on to play in the NBA after being a high draft pick by the Sacramento Kings, although he would never reach the potential he was projected to after a serious car crash during his rookie season.

Purdue coach Matt Painter praised the victors.

“We’ve played against athletes, played against some really good defensive guys this year and in the tournament, but not the collection of defensive players like UConn has,” Painter said, according to the Post.

“We play against somebody, they would have a lockdown defender. These guys are bringing lockdown defenders off the bench.”

The game was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, although UConn managed to open up a six-point lead going into the locker room.

From there, the Huskies would steadily outscore the Boilermakers in the second half, opening the game up. One of the keys was that UConn held Purdue to just one three-point score in seven attempts; the Boilermakers were the second-best team in the nation when it came to three-point shooting during the season.

And while many lesser coaches would be content to rest on their laurels after winning an NCAA championship, Hurley was immediately looking toward a three-peat on the flight back to Connecticut.

“S***, we’re going to try to replicate it again,” he said, according to the Post. “I don’t think that we’re going anywhere.”

If they do, the Huskies will move into third place in terms of national championships by a single program, behind UCLA’s 11 and Kentucky’s eight. They’re currently tied with Duke for third all-time with six.

Furthermore, no team has gone back-to-back-to-back since John Wooden’s UCLA teams won seven straight between 1967 and 1973. Managing that feat in this day and age may be nigh impossible. From the sound of things, however, Dan Hurley certainly plans on giving it a go.

And given that his team has won 12 straight NCAA tournament games, you’d be hard-pressed to believe they don’t have a few more wins in them.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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