UConn's second straight national title comes in dominant style, cementing the Huskies as a modern dynasty (2024)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There is Connecticut.

Then there is a massive gap.

And then there is everyone else.

The Huskies have no peers. We saw it for weeks; it only needed to be made official on Monday night when they scheduled a 40-minute basketball game for the final victim, Purdue, to join the rest who have been hounded into obliteration by the Huskies. The best team in college basketball — and the best program in college basketball — won the national championship (75-60) for the second year in a row in its signature bulldozing fashion.

"What could you say? We won. By a lot again," an unvarnished Dan Hurley said.

Winning by a lot is all UConn knows how to do in the Big Dance. Hurley and the best staff in college basketball trained their Huskies to smell blood and vanquish every team, every time, in every postseason game. In doing so, this 2023-24 UConn group solidified its reputation and everlasting legacy as one of the best teams college basketball has seen in the past four decades. At least.

"We wanted to give everything so we could win absolutely everything," Hurley said.

So much for the second best team in the sport giving the best team in the sport 40 minutes, or even 30 minutes, of competitive action. Purdue was just like the other five casualties on the wrong end of UConn in this NCAA Tournament — and the other six teams in LAST year's NCAA Tournament.

Utter carnage.

Connecticut is the eighth school to win back-to-back titles, joining Oklahoma State (1945-46), Kentucky (1948-49), San Francisco (1955-56), Cincinnati (1961-62), UCLA (1964-65, 1967-73), Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07).

The basketball world pleaded to see UConn get itself caught up in a close game, but the Huskies outright refused — for the 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament matchup — to provide any drama. This outrageous cast trailed in the 2024 tournament for a total of 6 minutes and 22 seconds — and never trailed in the second half. It's a sixth championship for UConn, all of them coming since 1999, now tying the program for third-most in history right alongside fellow blue blood North Carolina. (UCLA has 11, Kentucky has eight.)

How absurd these Huskies are, even more ridiculous than their predecessors, who were also their own kind of absurd in how they strutted to a 2023 championship behind a record-breaking run of six wins by 13 or more points.This team joined that team in the record books — but also one-upped their canine counterparts by putting on a three-week show (2024 UConn beat opponents by 23.3 points; last year's Huskies crew had to skate by with a 20.0 winning margin) that firmed up one of the most impressive title sweeps this sport has seen.


"I think it's up there in terms of the greatest two-year runs that a program maybe has ever had," Hurley said.

Thirty-seven wins to just three losses. Only 2011-22 Kentucky has won more games (38) as a national champion.

Here's where we ascend to all-time territory: Connecticut's point differential of +140 over six games is the most in the history of the tournament, besting the legendary 1995-96 Kentucky team that outclassed the sport that year the way UConn outpaced its sport in 2024. The 74,423 souls inside State Farm Stadium bore witness to uncommon greatness. UConn became the fourth No. 1 overall seed to win a national title (the No. 1 overall seed began 20 years ago), the first since Louisville in 2013.

A 12th straight NCAA Tournament victory by double digits/13-plus points. It's a record likely to never be broken. An all-time team, one I'd comfortably put among the 10 best since John Wooden retired in 1975. Do not take this dominance for granted. Do not normalize what hadn't ever been achieved heretofore.

What the Huskies did this year isn't supposed to happen.

The only other team to win consecutive title games by 15-plus points was UCLA from 1967-69. Those wins featured Lew Alcindor, who is considered the greatest college player ever. Speaking of legends, Hurley puts his name alongside names like Wooden and Iba and Rupp and Krzyzewski as back-to-back champions. They are all Hall-of-Famers. One day, Hurley will join them. This win assures it will happen.

UConn's second straight national title comes in dominant style, cementing the Huskies as a modern dynasty (1)

Last year was about UConn cementing its case as a blue blood. It was so convincing, you never heard it brought up this season or this tournament. It was accepted as fact. Because it is.

This title elevates the program's legacy to one of a mini-dynasty. There will never be another UCLA under Wooden; those days are tucked in amber for eternity.

"I just think it's the best two-year run I think in a very, very long time just because of everything we lost from last year's team," Hurley said. "To lose that much and, again, to do what we did again, it's got to be as impressive a two-year run as a program's had since prior to whoever did it before Duke. To me it is more impressive than what Florida and Duke did because they brought back their entire teams. We lost some major players."

A dynasty in modern college basketball starts — and likely ends — with two in a row.

It's hard enough to win two in a row. Consider that we're in the transfer portal era for good, with roster retention never going back to what it was for decades. What coach is going to be able to do this? And to do it by blowing out every team? We probably won't ever see something like this again. The Huskies have done more than just accomplish the rare feat of going back-to-back. It will only get harder to win national titles moving forward.

It will be near-impossible to win two straight. Nobody's matching UConn's two-year terror run through the tournament, at least probably not for decades. It took 17 years to get another back-to-back champion. Before Florida did it in '07, it was a 15-year gap from Duke. Prior to that, the span between UCLA in 1973 until Duke was 19 years.

Then again ...

"We're going to be focusing on trying to put together a three-year run, not just a two-year run," Hurley said.

Of course he did.

To think that Hurley and company achieved this after losing five of its top eight scorers. It's insane. Truly insane. You're not supposed to be able to do this. UConn built back stronger, better, more menacing and with a lethal tendency to rip off runs that buried teams.

Purdue was its latest, and last, victim. The Boilermakers attempted just seven 3s, a stunner of stunners for a team that entered the night as the No. 2 3-point offense in college basketball. Purdue's seven attempts from 3 are the fewest in a title game since UCLA in 1995. Purdue had taken eight-plus 3-pointers in 330 straight games, dating back to 2015.

A masterful scout by Huskies assistant Luke Murray bottled up Purdue's guards and reduced them to a one-man team.

It made an all-time performance by a two-time national player of the year fall well short of having any faint hope of winning. Zach Edey, one of the best players in college basketball in the past 40 years, also managed to put up arguably the best game (37 points, 10 rebounds) in a losing title game effort ever. He joins Bill Walton and Alcindor as the only players to ever have 30-and-10 in a title game.

But it didn't matter. UConn simply ran away.

"It took him 25 shots to get 37 points. That was the game plan, just limit the guards," Final Four Most Outstanding Player Tristen Newton said.

Newton now carries the rare distinction of leading a team in scoring in two national title games, one of just seven players to ever do it. Don't say UConn doesn't have a star. Newton was a First Team All-American and solidified a singular legacy at a program that is upping its historic credentials by the season, by the tournament, by the game.

This team — the best team in UConn history, let's make that clear — will age wonderfully. They are a benchmark for all great teams to follow. When the games mattered most, they were never truly threatened. They turned blowouts into a thing of beauty.

The wins might have been boring, but the beatdowns were legendary in totality. Methodical. Relentless.

"I mean, sh*t, we're going to try to replicate it again," Hurley said. "We're going to maintain a championship culture. We're bringing in some very talented high school freshmen. Our returning players, through player development, will take a big jump. We'll strategically add through the portal. I don't think that we're going anywhere."

And now, in taking scope of history, it's fair to call 2023-24 UConn a juggernaut among giants that came before: 2017-18 Villanova, 2011-12 Kentucky, 2000-01 Duke, 1995-96 Kentucky, 1991-92 Duke. Keep going back. It had the experience, size, future NBA players and Hall of Fame coach. A special team we'll grow to appreciate more the further we get away from this night.

Their legacy will live forever. The feeling on the floor after the made-for-TV celebrations had finished was one of inevitability. Joyousness, but not disbelief. Monday night's final felt fated for weeks, if not months. This is UConn's sport, and Dan Hurley is on command from atop the mountain.

After Hurley cut the last twine of the net, pulled it off the rim, draped it around his neck and made his way from one end of the court to the other, he spoke as he walked through his emotions.

"Just trying to process through it all," Hurley told me.

Then his mind immediately went to what was next. As in: next season.

"Where's the East Regional next year?" Hurley asked a UConn staffer.

"Providence first."

"Then what?"


"Ah, Jersey!" Hurley said.

Barely 30 minutes removed from winning the 2024 title, he already was mapping out the next one. Hurley's brain doesn't rest. The quest doesn't quit. After a beat, as he walked down the court, he couldn't help but ask one more question.

"Where's the Final Four?"

UConn's second straight national title comes in dominant style, cementing the Huskies as a modern dynasty (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6579

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.