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UConn wins back-back NCAA titles despite 37-point showing from Canadian Zach Edey

After over two weeks, 68 teams, and six consecutive elimination rounds, the UConn Huskies (37-3) stand alone as the best College Basketball team in the nation. Connecticut denied the Perdue Boilermakers (34-5) their first NCAA Division I Championship in program history, defeating them 67-43 and repeating as champions for the first time since the Florida Gators in 2006-07. The win moves the Huskies to third on the all-time list, tying North Carolina at six titles after winning three times over the past decade (2014, 2023, 2024).  

UConn defeated Perdue by a score of 75-60, nearly identical to their 76-59 victory over San Diego State in last season’s final. It was a one man show for the Boilermakers with Canadian Zach Edey putting up over half of his team’s points, scoring 37 to go along with 10 rebounds. This impressive performance was not good enough to get past Connecticut’s four headed monster of Donovan Clingan, Cam Spencer, Stephon Castle, and Tristen Newton who each scored in the double digits. Newton led the charge with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists, earning him Most Outstanding Player honours at excellent odds of +650 as the fourth most likely player to win heading into the final. 

With the randomness that March Madness brings, it’s rare to see the two most talented teams still standing at the end, but that was the case this season with UConn opening as the tournament favourites at +400 and Perdue close behind in third at +700 per Fanduel. One of the two teams ranked as number one for more than half of the regular season, and both teams dominated their way to the final, with UConn outscoring opponents by an average of 25 points and Perdue by an average of 19.6 points. 

The Huskies outscored opponents by 140 points and became just the sixth team in tournament history to win all six of their games by double digits. Dating back to last year, they have won 12 straight March Madness games by 13 points or more. They move to 6-0 in Championships games, with all their finals appearances coming since 1999. 

The Boilermakers meanwhile move to 0-2 in finals appearances, reaching their first final since 1969 after becoming just the second No.1 seed to lose in the first round a year prior. Credit the Huskies defence for holding the countries second best three-point shooting team to under 10 attempts for just the second time this season. UConn was happy to allow 37 points on 25 shots to the National Player of the Year with the rest over the team shooting 1/7 behind the arch. 

With the NCAA season concluded, basketball fans can shift their attention back to the NBA. Just four games remain in the regular season, with the Play-In Tournament set to begin on April 16th and the Playoffs on April 20th. Donavan Clingan, Stephan Castle, Zach Edey, and Tristen Newton are all expected to be selected in the first round of the 2024 NBA draft, which will take place on June 26th, three days after game 7 of the NBA Finals is scheduled. 

If you are looking to bet on the NBA playoffs, the upcoming NBA draft, or get early futures in for next year’s college basketball season, make sure to check out Ontario sportsbooks for the best betting sites your province has to offer. The Celtics are currently favoured to win the NBA Championship at +185, but the Denver Nuggets are close behind at +325, looking to repeat as champions. The Toronto Raptors have been eliminated from postseason contention, but you can still wager on who they will select in the draft with the 6th overall selection.

Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire