National Championship Preview
#4 UConn Huskies (-7.5) vs #5 San Diego State Aztecs
9:20 PM ET on CBS
The farewell to Jim Nantz in March Madness and this 2022-23 College Basketball concludes with a title game that not everyone expected as San Diego State takes on UConn for the title. San Diego State is looking to win its first-ever National Championship, while UConn is looking to win its fifth.
San Diego State has gotten here on defensive toughness, luck, and a Lamont Butler jumper to lift them over Florida Atlantic. The Aztecs were a popular upset pick early but got by Charleston and Furman, before taking down the top overall seed in Alabama. Creighton and Florida Atlantic were both one-point wins that required game-winning shots, but the Aztecs got them and are now in the title game. San Diego State is the better defensive team in this matchup, they make you play badly and while the offense isn’t always great, it’s enough. Darrion Trammell and Matt Bradley will look to get it going at the guard spot, Lamont Butler has been the breakout star, nailing big shots in the Tournament to help the Aztecs flourish, while they have an abundance of size and depth. They don’t win pretty, and the offense can be questionable but at the end of the day, they are still standing.
Meanwhile, UConn has been a wagon in this Tournament and is the rightful heavy favorite in this game. The Huskies didn’t look completely dominant against Iona and St. Mary’s but turned it on in the second half to win handily. They then obliterated Arkansas and Gonzaga to get to Houston, and while they got some pushes from Miami, the game was never really in doubt. The Huskies have firepower on both ends, they can get hot from the perimeter to pull away, while they are one of the best defensive teams in the sport. They have elite bigs in Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan, they have the best shooter in Jordan Hawkins, and an elite defender in Andre Jackson. The rest of their team consists of three-tool players that can shoot, pass and defend, which makes them a near-impossible team to beat.
Certainly, you still need to play the game and as we’ve seen in March, anything is possible. That being said, this seems more like a coronation than it does a competitive basketball game. UConn has been the best team in the Tournament, they are the best team in the sport right now and San Diego State just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up going against an elite defense in UConn. Assuming we don’t get a major upset, UConn will be flying back with a fifth National Championship trophy, all of which will have come in the last 24 years.
Prediction: UConn 68 San Diego State 52
ATS: UConn -7.5