Defending champion UConn continues March Madness dominance with blowout over No. 9 Northwestern


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March continues to belong to the University of Connecticut.

UConn wiped the floor with No. 9 Northwestern on Sunday night, winning 75-58. The victory came just days after the Huskies rocked Stetson by 39 points, 91-52.

Last year, when UConn was en route to their fifth national championship, the then-fourth-seeded Huskies’ smallest margin of victory in the tournament was 13 points, when they beat No. 5 Miami, 72-59.

Their largest margin of victory in the 2023 tournament was 28. 

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UConn huddles

Tristen Newton #2 of the Connecticut Huskies and Hassan Diarra #10 of the Connecticut Huskies react during the first half of the game against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 24, 2024 in New York City.  (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Since last year, UConn has beaten their opponents in the NCAA Tournament by an average of 22 points.

The ninth-seeded Wildcats did themselves zero favors by shooting 25.8% from the floor (and 0-for-6 from deep). The Huskies more than doubled that number in the first 20 minutes. Despite going just 2-for-11 from three, they were 14-for-19 from inside the perimeter. Put it all together, and they went 53.3% in the first half.

UConn’s lead eventually got up to 30, but the Wildcats still had a sliver of life and cut it to 16 with 5:25 left. Despite Northwestern’s efforts, UConn was able to hold off the late rally.

Alex Karaban and Donovan Clingan

Alex Karaban #11 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts during the first half of the game against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 24, 2024 in New York City.  (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

DUKE’S JARED MCCAIN ADMITS IT WAS HARD TO NOT ‘SHOOT FROM ANYWHERE’ WHILE BREAKING DUKE MARCH MADNESS RECORD

Tristen Newton led the way with 20 points and 10 assists, while Donovan Clingan dominated the glass with 14 points and 14 rebounds in addition to eight assists. Cam Spencer added 11 points as well. 

Head coach Dan Hurley, of course, said he hopes he keeps winning by such large margins.

“It’s tough, though…” he admits. But, “One player had 14, 14, and eight, Point guard had 20 and 10, it’s tough to lose when you have that level of quality.”

Donovan Clingan and Cam Spencer

Cam Spencer #12 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts during the first half of the game against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 24, 2024 in New York City.  (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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Northwestern fifth-year senior Boo Buie struggled in his final game as a Wildcat, going just 2-for-15 from the floor. Still, when he was taken out for the final time, the Northwestern faithful gave him a standing ovation as he shared a long embrace with head coach Chris Collins. 

While the Wildcats head home, the Huskies are back in the Sweet 16 for the 20th time in program history. This is the first time they’ve made the round in consecutive seasons since doing so in five straight years from 2002 to 2006.

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