UConn’s ‘elite D’ fuels dominant Final Four win

HOUSTON– Jim Larranaga looked down and put his hands on his head.Miami’s Wooga Poplar had simply turned the ball over out of bounds, UConn was getting the ball back with a 15-point lead early in the second half and the seasoned head coach knew his group was losing its grip on the game.It was a familiar sight for those following UConn’s dominant run through the NCAA tournament, a run that continued on Saturday night as the 4-seed Huskies travelled to a 72-59 win over 5-seed Miami.UConn advances to face San Diego State in Monday’s national championship game.Editor’s Picks 2 Related”There’s a lot of groups that wish to play Monday,” junior center Adama Sanogo stated

.”It suggests a lot to us. It indicates whatever

we work for. The work has settled, and still going and keep working and be able to go Monday night.”The Huskies fell just shy of ending up being the first string to win its first 5 NCAA tournament games by a minimum of 15 points, but ended up being the 6th group ever to win them

by double-digits, according to ESPN Stats & Information. 4 of the previous 5 teams to do it won the title game. “When we’re playing more difficult than the other group, which is our calling card– going like plus-nine on the glass, playing elite defense and having a lot of responses on offense– there’s nowhere where we’re weak as a team,”coach Dan Hurley stated. “We have the ability to sort of body blow our opponent.” UConn scored the first 9 points of the game, with Jordan Hawkins making a 3-pointer 14 seconds into it and Sanogo following with 2 threes of his own. Hawkins dispelled any concept of being ineffective after his bout with a stomach bug the

past two days, while Sanogo had actually made just 17 threes in the first 37 games of the season. 2 very good signs for the Huskies.Hawkins was quiet the remainder of the very first half, but Sanogo didn’t decrease. The UConn huge male finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Huskies enhanced to 20-0 in Sanogo’s career when he ratings at least 20 points.Year Team Won title? 2023 UConn!.?. !? 2018 Villanova Yes 2016 North Carolina No 2009 North Carolina Yes 2001 Duke

Yes 2000 Michigan State Yes * Because tournament expanded in 1985 Miami did return to tie the score at 19 on a Nijel Pack 3-pointer with 8:20 left in the first half, but the Hurricanes would never ever get level with UConn again. The Huskies finished the half on an 18-6 run

, capped by an Alex Karaban buzzer 3-pointer

to go into the break with a 13-point

lead.UConn pushed the margin to 20 early in the 2nd half , and Miami would just get it down to single digits for 35 seconds the rest of the game . The Hurricanes constantly flirted with a resurgence, scoring back-to-back baskets or

getting consecutive stops, however the Huskies never ever let them get

closer than touching distance.When the Huskies needed to make a play to alter the momentum or end a run, they came through, as they have throughout all of the NCAA competition. But it wasn’t the elite UConn offense, ranked No. 3 in the country at KenPom.com after Saturday, that was the focus against Miami.

It was the opposite of the ball.The Huskies held the Hurricanes, who balance almost 80 points per game and have the fifth-most effective offense in the nation, to their fewest points of the season, both in the very first half and for the game. Miami shot just 31% inside the arc and didn’t make a basket for the last 6 minutes of the game.It was the 2nd

game in a row UConn’s defense was the driver for the win. In the Elite 8, the Huskies dealt with Gonzaga, which has the country’s most effective and highest-scoring offense. The’ Zags proceeded to score a season-low 54 points and had their fewest points per ownership since December 2009, according to KenPom’s database.”We feel like we’re the best defense in the nation,” guard Tristen Newton said.”We feel like people do not play groups like us every year. The Big East is a real physical league, and originating from those conferences, I don’t feel like they have groups that play defense like the Big East does.”Junior Andre Jackson included: “We got people who understand the scheme, what the other team is trying to do because the coaches do such a great job of preparing us. We also got men that can guard the ball one-on-one. … All of us understand the principles. I think that’s what permits us to be able to stop teams. Knowing what they’re trying to get and limit that and attempting to protective rebound the ball along with possible.”” We seem like we’re the best defense in the country. We feel like people do not play teams like us every year. The Big East is a real physical league, and originating from those conferences, I don’t feel like they have groups that play defense like the Big East does.”

UConn guard Tristen Newton When UConn had its 2-6 stretch in January, defense was the main culprit. The Huskies permitted one point per possession once in the first 13 games of the season and four times in the last 13 games of the project. During the middle 11 games? Opponents hit that mark eight times.”We showed we have talent, we showed we have guys that can score the ball, facilitate the ball and all the pretty stuff,”

Jackson stated.” It was everything about getting our identity on the protective side of the ball and getting a grittiness to us. When we had the ability to get that grittiness, it absolutely ended up being more difficult to stop. Playing in the Big East, extremely hard conference, actually physical people, older guys that have been at it for a while. Every challenger you see is nothing new.”Miami’s Last 4 run was partially predicated on its capability to get second-chance points on the offensive glass and the Hurricanes’guards getting downhill and either finishing at the rim or kicking it out to open shooters for 3s. But UConn made life challenging for Miami’s stars. Load was just 3-for-10 from the field, Norchad Omier was held to eight points and absolutely nothing came simple for Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller.The Hurricanes were simply 8 for 23 on layups, with Sanogo and Donovan Clingan objecting to or altering effort after attempt. Omier and Miller succeeded on the offensive glass in the very first half, but UConn didn’t allow a second-chance basket in the 2nd half until there was 8:02 staying. “They truly did an excellent task of sending out 2 at

you whenever we would drive. That troubled us again,”Miller said.”Uncharacteristic of us, however all credit to them. They came prepared to play. They were the better team tonight.”Hurley credited assistant coaches Kimani Young and Luke Murray with having his players all set for each of the previous two games at the protective end of the floor.”We’re a terrific defensive group. That swoon in January had a lot to do with us losing our defensive identity,”Hurley stated.”We pushed them when we could, we got into spaces. … We had an astounding tactical plan.”San Diego State on Monday will position a different obstacle. The Aztecs aren’t nearly the offensive juggernaut of Gonzaga or Miami, but they’re elite defensively and bring more of the physicality, toughness and experience UConn is used to facing in the Huge East.But defense will still be concern No. 1 for the Huskies. “We concentrate on defense,” Newton said.” We get stops and run. Our best offense is transition, so our best offense comes from defense. “

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