The University of Connecticut Huskies celebrated a victory in the 2024 Men’s College Basketball National Championship Game at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Image: USA Today Sports) On a remarkable run, UConn went undefeated against the spread in the “March Madness” tournament, eventually securing the 2023 championship title.
The fourth-seeded Huskies dominated the tournament, despite the substandard hotel accommodations in Las Vegas. This marks the fifth national championship for UConn since 1999, with each of them being led by a different head coach. Jim Calhoun initially brought the school to prominence in the 90s during the rise of the Big East. Calhoun won the first championship in 1999, and two more in 2004 and 2011.
After Calhoun retired in 2012, former player and assistant coach Kevin Ollie took over and added a fourth championship to the Huskies’ trophy case in 2014. Dan Hurley then picked up the reins in 2018 and, in his fifth season as head coach, delivered a fifth championship.
UConn’s success this season was surprising, considering they were snubbed by the preseason AP Top 25 Poll. In response, they went on a 14-game winning streak, eventually reaching the #2 ranking in the country. Unfortunately, a 1-5 skid followed and they slid to #19 in the poll. But they fought back and finished strong with an 8-1 stretch, ultimately attaining the #11 ranking in the last poll of the regular season.
In March Madness, the Huskies went a perfect 6-0 against the spread, with an average margin of victory of 20 points. As a reward for their championship run, UConn opened at +1400 odds to win the 2024 title, third overall on the futures board.
It’s rare to win consecutive championships in modern college basketball; the last time it happened was in 2006 and 2007 when Billy Donovan led the Florida Gators to back-to-back titles. But Dan Hurley is up for the challenge, much like his brother Bobby did in the early 90s when Duke won consecutive championships.
UConn’s remarkable run to the championship has put them in prime position for a repeat title in 2024.