National championship game set for 2023 NCAA Tournament, after No. 5 seed san diego state advanced with an epic play against the No. 9 seed UAF and seed No. 4 University of Connecticut seed No. 5 steamed flattened miami in the other national semifinal. Caesars Sportsbook opened with the Huskies as 7.5-point favorites in the game, which will air live on CBS Monday night at 9:20 p.m. ET and can be streamed on Paramount+.
How did the Aztecs get here?: San Diego State earned its spot in the championship game after overcoming a 14-point second-half deficit against Florida Atlantic, marking the fifth-largest comeback in Final Four history. Lamont Butler’s The game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds remaining also joined the exclusive list of last-second game winners in the Final Four, as Brian Dutcher’s decision not to call a timeout on the final play allowed Butler to get onto the pitch against the FAU defense in a frantic late-game situation. Dutcher’s confidence in an experienced SDSU squad paid off, and now that confidence needs to be even greater, as he propelled the Aztecs to the program’s first appearance in the national championship game.
How did the Huskies get here?: UConn’s 72-59 win against Miami adds another double-digit win to the Huskies’ streak in this NCAA Tournament, bringing even more attention to the team that was already favorites against the field to win it all according to punters. The Huskies have been considered one of the best teams in the country for long stretches this season, from the 14-0 start (with 13 double-digit wins) to the current 14-2 streak in the team’s last 16 games. The only reason this team got the No. 4 seed was because of a rough stretch in the early stages of conference play when UConn lost six of eight games, but midseason adjustments and improved play have ranked the Huskies as the No. 1 team in the country according to KenPom.
How UConn and San Diego State match up: Speaking of ratings, this is a meeting of two of the top 15 teams in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Aztecs are coming off a win in which FAU scored more than any other team in SDSU’s eight-game postseason run (MW Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament), but it was the defense that stepped up late in the game. second half possessions to help key the comeback. . UConn’s defense rates well on the season, but has been particularly impressive in the NCAA Tournament allowing just 59.2 points per game in the team’s five tournament wins with neither team scoring more than arkansas‘ 65 points (in a 23-point loss) in the Sweet 16. Head coach Dan Hurley expressed his pride in UConn’s defensive effort against Miami after the game, and it will be needed again to match what San Diego State will bring to the match.
What is at stake: If UConn can win, it will be the program’s fifth national championship since 1999, with this year’s team joining the 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014 teams that have set the bar for Huskies basketball in the modern era. Hurley would also be the third coach to win a title for UConn, an honor that reflects positively on both the coach and the program. For San Diego State, a win against the Huskies would further legitimize the Aztecs as one of the standout programs of the modern era and allow players who were around in 2020 to reduce netting after a tournament was canceled in the wake of of a possible stop. —Two seeds in the field.