UConn’s men’s basketball program has had its fair share of ups and downs in recent years, with consecutive first-round NCAA Tournament exits leaving fans and analysts questioning the team’s ability to perform in March. However, the Huskies have silenced those critics in emphatic fashion during this year’s March Madness, putting in dominating performances en route to their first Final Four appearance in nine years.
In their latest triumph, UConn overwhelmed Gonzaga 82-54 in the West Region final, with Jordan Hawkins leading the way with 20 points. The Huskies’ stifling defense held the usually efficient Bulldogs to just 33% shooting from the field, while also dominating the rebounding battle.
UConn’s resurgence in the tournament has been particularly impressive given their inconsistent form during the regular season. However, the team has hit its stride at the perfect time, controlling each of their four opponents in the NCAA Tournament to date.
The Huskies will now travel to Houston for the Final Four, where they will take on either Texas or Miami. UConn’s impressive track record in Final Four games, where they boast an 8-1 record, will give them confidence heading into the next round.
The victory over Gonzaga was a particularly satisfying one for UConn fans, who have long watched their women’s program dominate while the men’s team struggled. This year’s Huskies, however, have proved that they belong among the elite, and they will be looking to cap off their impressive run with a national championship.
Head coach Dan Hurley, who has faced criticism during his tenure at UConn, was delighted with his team’s performance, particularly given the mental hurdles they have had to overcome.
“The climb to get to this point has been real and it’s been more challenging than I thought,” he said. “But this team has proven that they are elite once again, and we’re excited for what’s to come.”