Despite Zach Edey’s Surge for Purdue, Can UConn Go for Back to Back NCAA Titles?

Published 02/20/2024, 11:18 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

March Madness is not that far away, but still many speculations are going on about which team will be taking over the reins this season. Well, that can be left to the fans to bounce back and forth, however, two teams have caught everybody’s attention. The Purdue Boilermakers and UConn Huskies are the two teams that have dominated the top 5 list for more than 4 weeks.

Looking at the ever-changing statistics, all has boiled down to the these teams leading the others on the parameters of resilience, dominance, and consistency. There is no third team that can be seen touching the near-surface line of what these two have achieved in the season so far. Both have one of the best players present on their rosters. And it is just a matter of time before they are going to be seeing each other in an anticipated face-off.

Howling Huskies


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Since their loss to Seton Hall, the Huskies have been going strong with 14 consecutive wins.


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This is the second time the program has maintained its streak at the #1 position. The last time it happened was during the 1998-99 season. It’s like UConn has caught on fire and is doing circles around its opponents in every game including their 28-point rout against Marquette.

This season, the Huskies have been maintaining a record of 23-2 overall and 13-1 in the Big East Conference, ranking at #1. Huskies guard Cam Spencer has been averaging 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Similarly, Tristen Newton has been averaging 15 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. In addition, forward Alex Karaban is averaging 14.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.

The Huskies’ climbing up to #1 was in fact a combination of incidents involving the Purdue Boilermakers’ upset loss to Ohio State along with the Huskies’ ongoing strong performance. Diving a little deeper, UConn’s blowout win over DePaul and an impressive 81-53 win over #4 (at the time) Marquette.

With another encounter set in line, UConn’s path ahead to the upcoming games, the Huskies will be facing Villanova which will be looking to bounce back from its 1-point defeat by UConn. Then it is Seton Hall, against which the Huskies ate dust prior to their 14-game winning streak, followed by the recently conquered Marquette. Next in line to bounce back would be Providence. Their road ahead surely looks like the payback alley with opponents waiting to pounce upon the howling wolves.

Slipping down by an unexpected shocker, let’s see how the Boilermakers are doing at #2.

Brilliant Boilermakers

Considered one of the most dominant teams in college basketball, the Boilermakers have held a strong and consistent record. For 5 weeks, Purdue ruled as the #1 team in the AP Top 25 poll. Contributing to the team’s success, players like Zach Edey, Lance Jones, and Braden Smith have been rolling with a force on the court. Currently ranking at #2, the team has combined 15 Quad 1 and Quad 2 quality wins this season, which is way more than any team in the NCAA basketball.

This season, Zach Edey has been averaging double-double scores with 23.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He has been shooting with a field goal percentage of 61.3%. In addition, guards Lance Jones and Braden Smith have been averaging 12.8 points each. Jones is registering 2.8 rebounds with 2.3 assists, while Smith is grabbing 5.7 rebounds and dishing out 7.2 assists per game. Moreover, Jones is shooting with a field-goal percentage of 42%, while Smith is shooting at 47.7%.


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Although, the team has faced a few setbacks along the way, however, they have made a remarkable recovery with resilience in their performance. Notably, the Boilermakers’ falling to Ohio State was more of a shocker than a surprise as Ohio had lost 9 out of the previous 11 games. In addition, they had just fired their coach four days prior to that game, which as a matter of fact might have solved the recurring problem for them, justified by their win.

The game also ended Purdue’s 9-game winning streak and their 38-day run as the #1 team in the Top 25 poll. The game indeed turned out to be pivotal for Purdue’s position, however, there are many more details to be factored in as the team has been on a strong run for the majority of the season and they still remain one of the top 3 competitors in men’s college basketball.


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It is indeed very subjective to determine which team out of the two is better for it depends on a number of factors like individual performance displayed by players, team strategy, how good their form is or whether is it really working for them, and head-to-head matchups, to name a few. Both Purdue and UConn have shown a great amount of potential and competitiveness which is still going on as they move forward in their journey to win the national championship title this season.


Written by:

Dimple Gupta


One take at a time

Dimple Gupta is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Dimple is adept at in-depth coverage and brings insightful coverage with her captive chronicles. Her articles often discuss trade details, NIL deals, and other monetary aspects.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo