Twice as Nice

Back-to-back champions for UConn Nation

The UConn Huskies hoist the NCAA national championship trophy.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 08: Connecticut Huskies celebrate after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament National Championship game at State Farm Stadium on April 08, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Sometimes, things are exactly as they seem.

All season long, the UConn men looked like the best basketball team in the country, and on Monday night they proved it beyond all doubt with a 75-60 win over Purdue to become the first program with back-to-back national championships in 17 years.

It was the sixth national championship victory since 1999 for UConn; the only programs with more are UCLA (11) and Kentucky (8). A Welcome Home rally for the team is scheduled to be held Tuesday, April 9 at Gampel Pavilion, with a tentative start time of 8:30 p.m.

Point guard Tristen Newton was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player after recording 20 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and zero turnovers – the only player with those numbers in a national championship game since seeding began in 1979.

UConn’s margin of victory over Purdue was a final exclamation point in a dominant March Madness performance that saw the Huskies average a staggering 23.3-point differential over opponents in the tournament.

“I cannot believe this team. Truly,” wrote Chris Licata ’06 (CLAS) on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Wire-to-wire just absolutely trucked the competition and brought home a second straight title.”

Purdue center Zach Edey played well, notching 37 points and 10 rebounds, but UConn’s elite defense stifled his teammates while the Husky guards trounced their Boilermaker opposite numbers: UConn’s back court outscored Purdue 55-17 over the course of the game.

“I want to thank my parents for deciding to go to UConn 50+ years ago, for taking me to my first game when I was a literal infant, for letting me stay up when Tate made the shot,” wrote Meghan Bard ’03 (CLAS) on X. “I’ve loved this team since I was 8, and I’ve never seen one better than this.”

After the game, head coach Dan Hurley praised the University for its commitment to building championship teams.

“UConn is a special place this time of year,” Hurley said. “They give us all the resources we need to play this way come March and April.”