UConn vs San Diego State in the NCAA Tournament


On Saturday, Gampel Pavilion felt like a homecoming for members of the Huskies’ historic national championship runs. It felt like an intimate reunion.

Adama Sanogo has been excellent, yet the rest of his team needs to improve its game. Jordan Hawkins appears fatigued and possibly suffers from illness; Nahiem Alleyne has been an instrumental asset off the bench.

UConn vs. san diego state

San Diego State has not been one of the best offensive teams this tournament, but their size and defensive acumen make them a severe threat to UConn. Losing only 26 minutes total during their game run so far, San Diego State could present UConn with one of their toughest tests yet – it will be interesting to see if one of its underdogs can pull off one of the biggest upsets ever seen at an NCAA Tournament matchup.

The National Championship game promises to be an intriguing battle of styles. UConn’s signature style of swaggering and defensive play may make it hard for San Diego State to find any rhythm, while San Diego State boasts an efficient three-point shooting team, which UConn must not ignore.

UConn has been dominant throughout this tournament, thanks to their formidable defense and star players such as Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins. UConn has never trailed after 20 minutes of the game began; victory in Monday’s final would firmly establish one of the most incredible tournament runs ever seen in modern basketball.

UConn’s floor-stretching guards present San Diego State with an enormous challenge in the backcourt. Capable of getting to the basket at any given moment and long enough to create space when defending small players, these players also possess an uncanny knack for finding open teammates on the move, as evidenced by their impressive performances against Miami and Creighton.

Nathan Mensah and Keshad Johnson of the Aztecs’ big men, Nathan Mensah and Keshad Johnson, are both strong on the glass, creating problems for UConn’s interior defense and also helping limit UConn’s ability to take shots from beyond the arc.

UConn’s swagger

UConn finally began to resemble what Geno Auriemma had planned when he arrived at Storrs after suffering injuries, flat stretches, and poor conference play – eventually losing to Wichita State and Houston as well as suffering an early exit in the NCAA tournament – thanks to Geno Auriemma’s first-round door at this year’s first-round tournament exits and defeats from Wichita State and Houston respectively and an eventual first-round tournament exit against Arizona State in Storrs. Now, in an age where parity is creating chaos across college basketball’s national landscape, UConn may yet become something significant enough for them.

UConn has not only outshouted their opponents with vast margins or renewed urgency; they’re also strangling their competition. That much was evident Sunday as UConn crushed Marquette 71-51 at Mohegan Sun Arena during the semifinals of the Big East Tournament – something it had done on past trips but was missing this time. Substitutions came quickly, while defensive tactics that had previously gone unseen came back into play en masse to shut out Marquette completely and seal victory for UConn.

Bria Hartley returned after recovering from an ankle injury. She must continue her stellar play against a Duke team that pressures and crowds the lane, demanding players who can handle pressure while finding open shots.

Another critical part of the game will be how well the Huskies perform against an impressive rebounding team like Duke, who have yet to lose this year. They must limit Duke’s second-chance opportunities while getting some of their own back on the glass, something they have had difficulty doing against superior competition. Furthermore, they must watch out for their foul trouble, given up too many free throws so far; otherwise, long stretches on the bench would likely result in defeat.

UConn’s defense

Jim Mora’s defense has drawn much of the focus as UConn enters a vital stretch run under him, though its performance may have declined from its impressive 2022 showing. That being said, however, its standards still outpace those seen among recent teams at Connecticut.

The Huskies have allowed nearly one first down’s worth of yards every 60 seconds, so that’s one area for improvement. Tackling in space must become better practiced to stop quarterbacks such as Brennan Armstrong.

On another front is cornerback depth. Tre Wortham graduated and leaves behind his starting and star player Durante Jones as one of its key members; Rentschler Field will host a fan section dedicated to cheering Durante on as an energetic ballhawk who inspires his teammates to perform at their best.

PFF grades rank him as the team’s premier defender, and his coverage skills have also been impressive. Junior Ryan Wirth and sophomore Chase Fountain have grown as cornerbacks – essential components if the Huskies want to contend in the Big East Conference. Experience and depth are critical elements of success for any program. This year’s group has the potential to be an impactful force over time if they remain healthy – they face an arduous schedule ahead. If the Vikings cannot keep pace, bowl eligibility could become impossible. At least six wins would be needed to reach bowl status, though playing in some of the toughest stadiums and facing top offenses could prove challenging. Still, signs are emerging of life on their part, and returning to their previous form is still within reach.

UConn’s depth

UConn stands out among college basketball programs for its longstanding tradition, and students take great pride in representing it at school and university social activities designed to keep its community vibrant and active. Be it pick-up basketball games, studying in the library, or watching football games, UConn provides something fun and meaningful for all its students on campus.

The Huskies boast several players set to step into more prominent roles this season and an elite recruiting class led by five-star guard Stephon Castle and elite 3-point shooter Cam Spencer; these factors should ensure they remain competitive nationally.

But losing key starters like Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo should not indicate that Coach Dan Hurley’s squad is now rebuilding. His talented team remains among the nation’s best, while an extensive bench will offer some protection in case of injuries.

Last season, UConn relied heavily on their defense to keep games competitive; opponents only scored an average of 108 points against them! In the future, however, UConn expects its offense to carry more of the load while its defense remains one of its greatest assets.

RJ Wilkins from Illinois should help strengthen the linebacking corps. But depth issues could plague defensive back and cornerback positions – especially at defensive back and cornerback. Jelani Stafford and Dal’mont Gourdine are good options at these positions but have shown inconsistency throughout this season. With the addition of Corey ‘Rambo’ Floyd Jr. as a reclassified player, he filled some holes on defense.

UConn’s star

Paige Bueckers stands out as UConn’s most talented player ever seen on its court. Her freshman season was an instantaneous hit; she became the first to garner Wooden, Naismith, AP, and USBWA Player of the Year awards – an unprecedented feat. When she returned for senior year, expectations were sky-high: four titles would surely come her way, yet injuries have stopped that dream – she is now sidelined for 2022-23 with a torn ACL.

Bueckers’ absence is a massive setback for the Huskies and women’s college basketball, yet Hurley has done an outstanding job of steering his ship without his star player in place. Under Hurley, this team has played with vibrance and joy – indeed, against Iona and Saint Mary’s, their performances bordered on symphonic for long stretches!

Under Hurley, UConn should have no problem winning another national championship; however, there remains room for error in this tournament. If they can avoid further injuries, they’ll stay formidable forces again in Houston.

This university’s sports programs aren’t the only attraction; its world-renowned research and solid social community also make a first impression. Students are encouraged to push limits; there’s something for everyone here! Students can join one of many clubs, participate in intramural sports leagues, or even compete against universities from across the nation in various competitions; furthermore, they have access to healthcare innovation programs, coding boot camps, and study abroad opportunities, along with numerous study abroad programs and an excellent student housing system.