CBB Update: 2023 Season Comes to a Close


Image via the Orlando Sentinel

Tim Callahan, Staff Writer

The most thrilling time of the year has come to an end. The conclusion of March is always exciting as warm weather is nearing, but yet disappointing as the college basketball season has come to an end. This March has provided more than enough chaos, starting on the first afternoon of Madness when Furman upset Virginia after Kihei Clark chucked the ball like a grenade right into the hands of Furman, who drained a three to send the Cavaliers home. The chaos continued when Princeton beat Arizona in a low-scoring round of 64 battle. The very next day, FDU shocked 1-seeded Purdue in a crushing defeat to Purdue fanatics (Sorry, Sean). In the round of 32, FDU’s Cinderella story came to an end with a loss to Florida Atlantic, but Princeton’s one shinning moment extended when they beat Missouri to get into the sweet sixteen. On the other side of the bracket, the defending national champions, Kansas, lost in the second round to Arkansas, while UConn dominated their way to the Final Four. In the East Region, Florida Atlantic used some Madison Square Garden magic to earn a spot in the Final 4 by defeating an electric Kansas State team on a Saturday night at MSG. San Diego State, a team that most had loosing to Charleston in the first round (the most commonly picked upset in brackets), beat Creighton on a controversial foul call to book their trip to Houston. In the mid-west division, the Miami Hurricanes ended Texas’s season after beating the 1-seeded Houston. The final four would contain no one seeds, no two seeds, and no three seeds for the first time in recent memory. In the Final 4, the UConn Huskies dominated Miami — winning by double digits as they did in every game of the tournament — while San Diego State clawed their way back after being down 14. Lamont Butler sent the city of Houston into hysteria, by hitting a buzzer-beater at the same arena where Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit the game-winner in the 2016 National Championship.  

Image via Wall Street Journal

But after all this Madness, the college basketball season came to an end in a boring fashion. Many predicted that UConn would blow San Diego State. Frankly, the Aztecs never stood a chance. UConn had dominated their way to the championship and nothing changed on Monday night. Nobody was stopping the in and out game of Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo, especially not when a Hurley is in a national championship game. As a Providence fan, it was infuriating to see Pooconn win. However, I cannot deny the fact that when at there best, they were the most dominant team all season. Many blew them off after a 12-point loss to Providence and a tough road loss to a poor Seton Hall team, but the way they battled backed from adversity, this UConn team was truly special and deserved the title. Haha Hurley (Dan Hurley) proved that he is truly a top-tier coach as UCONN wins it’s 5th national title in the last 25 years, the most in that timespan. 

Image via Xavier Athletics

This tournament also proved that the Big East is the best basketball conference in the country. The Big East went 12-4 in the NCAA tournament. The next best conference was the BIG-10, who went 6-8. Every conference claims to be relevant and special, but in the Big East…it just means more. UConn fans have every right to brag for now, but they better expect to be humbled next year by the gauntlet of a schedule that is the Big East. Marquette, Xavier, and Providence all return key players, Georgetown poached Ed Cooley and Oh, legendary Rick Pitino will be coaching at St. Johns. I cannot wait to see how the Big East and the rest of the college basketball season play out next year!