When does Purdue and UConn play in March Madness? Breaking down the NCAA Tournament title game

The vagaries of the single-elimination format of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – the very reason the event has been dubbed March Madness after all – often results in what we perceive to be the best teams not reaching the final showdown for the title.

In this case, however, we as interested observers seem to have been gifted the ideal matchup, featuring the teams - Connecticut and Purdue - that have separated themselves from a crowded field over the course of the lengthy season. Our hope now, of course, is that the game itself lives up to its billing. Here’s everything you need to know as you get set to watch the final chapter of the Big Dance unfold.

No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Purdue, 9:20 p.m. ET, TBS

In addition to pairing the nation’s two best teams, this title tilt involves programs with dialed-in fan bases, so naturally a championship here would be quite meaningful for whichever side prevails. The Huskies, one of the premier programs of the last quarter century, seek a second championship in succession and sixth overall. The Boilermakers, often second and sometimes third or lower fiddle in the basketball-mad state of Indiana, hope to hoist a long-awaited first banner.

At the centerpiece of this matchup, if you will, is the clash of titans in the middle. At 7-2, UConn’s Donovan Clingan doesn’t usually give up any inches to his counterpart in the post, but the Boilermakers’ Zach Edey will actually have two on him. Even so, Edey will have a more difficult time than usual executing his signature jump hook against a defender who can nearly match his reach. In truth, the key to the game will probably unfold at the perimeter, where Purdue’s Braden Smith as the primary ball handler will face UConn’s constant pressure. It will be up to Lance Jones and Fletcher Loyer to make their share of three-pointers, as Alabama was able to do Saturday night, to stay within shouting distance of the Huskies. Though UConn’s prowess at the defensive end of the floor has been celebrated all season, its offensive efficiency is just as relentless, with Tristen Newton surgically dissecting opposing defenses and getting the ball to his numerous finishing options. Purdue is unlikely to repeat the mistake of leaving Stephon Castle alone, but Cam Spencer and Alex Karaban also demand attention.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When is March Madness title game? Breaking down Purdue-Uconn matchup