The Big Dance


Photo by Jacob Rice on Unsplash

The 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament concluded on Monday, April 3 with UConn defeating San Diego State by a score of 76-59 to claim the program’s fifth national championship. Prior to this year, the UConn Huskies had not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2016 and had undergone coaching and conference changes in that drought. The Huskies have announced their return to the top of the sport with a win that caps a historic tournament run, with plenty of ways to consider this 2023 title season as one of the best in the modern era. When asked about why March Madness is so special, Lynbrook Swag owner Adam Glickman said, “It’s the only sport where the underdog, a.k.a. Cinderalla, can cut down the nets.”

The San Diego State Aztecs were winning by a score of 10-8, and it looked like they were in control of the game. Just after five minutes went by, Adama Sanogo of the Huskies blocked Aguek Arop of the Aztecs, which stopped the Aztecs’ momentum. Since that block, the Aztecs went on a five-minute-long scoring drought, and the Huskies capitalized on it by going on a 12-2 run in the span of seven minutes. This gave UConn a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go in the half.

Ever since the block by Sanogo, the Huskies never took their foot off the gas and held the Aztecs to 0 field goals in 11 minutes. With just three minutes left in the first half, Tristen Newton and Joey Calcaterra knocked down two threes to give UConn a 16-point lead and their largest lead of the night. The score going into halftime was 36-24, UConn.

UConn’s momentum carried through into the second half, and with 10 minutes to go in the game, they were leading 53-16. The Aztecs were not going down easily, and within just two minutes, they went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to seven. It looked like it was a brand-new ball game, but in the final minutes, UConn was able to put the game away by playing lock down defense and forcing San Diego State to go on a 0-field goal drought in four minutes. The final score of the game was 76-59, UConn. Both teams finished with 6 three pointers, but UConn was 43% from the field, while San Diego state was only 32%. Newton of the Huskies had 19 points, and Keshad Johnson of the Aztecs had 14.

Both teams gave it their all, and these young athletes gave fans another fantastic March Madness Tournament. Many people did not expect San Diego State or UConn make it to the finals, so it was nice to see the underdog teams make it to the end. When asked if the underdog teams making it to the finals makes the tournament better, sophomore and junior varsity basketball player Eddie Strawdowski said, “I think it made it a better tournament as a basketball fan, but since I had a bracket, it made is less entertaining as my favorite to win it was Kansas. They lost earlier than they should have, but it was nice to see teams like Fairleigh Dickinson University and San Diego State University make it far.”

March Madness is always one of the best times of the year for a sports fan and is always exciting because one never knows who will make it to the end. When asked if all the underdog teams making it to the finals makes it more exciting, sophomore and junior varsity basketball player Jack LaBarbera said, “I think March Madness is always exciting, but the addition of underdog teams in the late rounds makes it more exciting because it gives people a team to root for.”