UConn celebrates 2023 NCAA championship Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley hoists the national championship trophy after defeating the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe now the UConn Huskies will finally get their due.

UConn’s dominant 76-59 victory over the San Diego State Aztecs in the NCAA championship game Monday night capped an awe-inspiring run through the tournament that saw the Huskies win their six games by an average of 20 points. They’re only the fifth team to win each tourney game by 10 or more points, and the first since Villanova in 2018.

UConn now has five men’s national basketball championships, tying Duke and Indiana on the all-time list, behind only UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), and North Carolina (6).

Yet UConn has won all of those championships since 1999, the most during that period. Even more impressive, three different coaches (Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, and current coach Dan Hurley) have been part of those titles.

Despite that quarter-century run of success, many college basketball fans and analysts tend to overlook the Huskies when the talk comes to basketball royalty. Teams like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas vie for the top five-star recruits, are featured in regular season matchups, and get the “blue blood” treatment.

Even former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said recently that UConn’s program hasn’t been getting the respect it deserves.

“I hate when people say there are no blue bloods in the Final Four,” Coach K told Colin Cowherd. “You have to be kidding me. … Since 1999 they’ve won four national championships. … Certainly, they’re at the level of the few teams you say are blue bloods.”

Hurley mentioned right after his team’s big win Monday that the team has been proving critics wrong all year.

“(Critics) buried us before the season, then they buried us at the midpoint,” Hurley told CBS Sports.

One would think that four national championships in the past 24 years coming into this season would have been enough to elevate UConn into the top tier of the NCAA’s elite programs, but as Hurley again alluded after Monday’s win, the fifth title sends a clear message.

“UConn … we had the four national championships coming in … we’ve been striving for No. 5 … now we got our own! Now we got our own!” Hurley told Jim Nantz.

College basketball fans saluted the Huskies on their fifth championship. Everyone seemed to agree that it would be ridiculous at this point not to treat UConn as a truly elite program.

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.